I tend to write about hangovers. A lot. Anyone reading this might assume that I like a drink. A lot. And they would probably be right. I actually even graduated with a diploma in alcohol (wine marketing at Adelaide university). So I like a drink enough to have allowed the study of it to consume all my leisure time for four years. But the truth of the matter is that I am a two-pot screamer, a cheap date, a tipsy-chick who starts dancing after two glasses of wine, and gets a hangover off three. So even though I am always complaining about last night’s effects, don’t assume that I neck a bottle nightly.
Today I am seriously hung over.
The culprit? Georgio Armani. Yes. I hold him entirely responsible for how I feel right now. If he hadn’t placed such a fun restaurant in such close proximity to my abode, then I would not have been drinking amaretto at 2am with a belly full of black cod and champagne, and a bill on the way that was going to freak the pants off Hambone.
The problem was that we started early. We snuck away from the family at 6:30 so we could get down to the Burj Khalifa early and watch the fountains. Which we did over an icy Manhattan in the Lounge at Armani Hotel. We lingered in the minimal zone of steel, brown granite, buff linen and glass until a violinist set up and started playing accompaniment to a recording. Violin karaoke? Yuck. I mean she could play, but I expected something a little more fashion-forward from old George.
So we decided to head down to Hashi early, because last time we were there we propped ourselves at a great little bar with a superb array of single malts, and the beat of mind-blowingly good progressive house being spun by a DJ who we know now only plays Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. No DJ today, but someone at least had set the iPod to ‘cool’ and we were blessed with better weather and so could sit out.
The terrace is a level above the public concourse, and you get the benefit of seeing the fountains and avoiding Joe public en masse. Unfortunately though you do have to listen to the same music as them when the fountains get going. Whitney bellowed out “I will always love you” drowning Hashi’s more appropriate dinner music, and I wondered again if there is anyone with taste in charge of anything in this city. My companions suggested the 50m fountains need colored lights to make them really stand out. Yeah, that would be classy.
After champagne and with grumbles in the belly, we headed to a table with more upright chairs and ordered a jovilet pouilly fume. After ten minutes the waitress realised that none of us were capable of making a decision, and so she made a couple of suggestions. The sashimi comes on deep platters of ice, and is so fresh I swear I saw some of it move of it’s own accord. The tempura mix was crispy and hot, and there were some VERY tasty morsels that could have been lobster, but as I never saw a menu I can’t be sure. It came with three sauces that my friends liked but I found a little overbearing. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to tempura.
Then we demanded more tempura, and our waitress picked out some tuna/salmon tartare (beautiful, with a basilly kind of marinade I think) and some spicy tuna maki. We graduated onto a Fiano from Mastroberardino (a neutral creamy white wine from Italy we affectionately call the fine masturbator), and then came the black cod. Now I really need to look into this fish. I don’t know if it is the fish itself, or the way they cook it, but it tastes just like butter. Seriously like butter. It arrived on a grill atop a ceramic pot filled with coals, and was marinated in something sweet, brown, sticky and salty, a little like teriyaki sauce, but much better than what I get out of the bottle at home. It flakes off into big soft creamy chunks, and when you put it in your mouth you have serious concerns for the poor old black cod, because fish that tastes like this is definitely heading for the endangered species list.
We were starting to slide down in our seats, so we returned to the lounge chairs that allowed a more horizontal pose, and ordered green tea ice-cream and amaretto on the rocks. By that stage we were laughing about all the trophy wives with bald blokes surrounding us, and figuring out how much each of these old dudes was worth based on the quality of his broad. We didn’t even care when we heard Celine Dion. Maybe I should blame her for my hangover instead.
And the bill? You don’t want to know.
By the way – photos are taken with an iphone, so no comments about focus or aperture please.