In Abu Dhabi, we are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to dining with a view and the capital seemingly has restaurants to suit every conceivable location.

Azura Panoramic Lounge at The St. Regis Abu Dhabi has recently undergone a revamp in terms of both decor and menu and is welcoming diners to dine al fresco and enjoy sprawling views of the Arabian Gulf. Hadag’s David Tapley obliged…

Situated on the third floor of the hotel, Azura is accessed via a series of stairways that leads visitors past the shimmering waters of the hotel swimming pool and up onto a small terrace that offers some of the finest views in the capital. Thanks to a prominent corniche location, Azura is a great choice for impressing out of town guests with sweeping views taking in Emirates Palace, Marina Mall and a long sandy swathe of the corniche beach. We’d suggest an early reservation to catch the sunset over the Arabian Gulf and watch the city light up as day turns to night. Much of Azura’s charm comes from the compact nature of the venue which provides diners with an intimacy and a sense of exclusivity that is not found at many locations in Abu Dhabi.

Sat beneath a canopy with the sea breeze on your face is certainly enjoyable and with comfortable seating and a varied bar menu, guests are encouraged to linger and enjoy the surroundings. This unhurried approach is refreshing and extends to the service-style which is amiable and comfortable with good recommendations for both food and beverages shared with assured confidence by the team on the floor. It’s been at least a year since we last visited and we’re excited by the new menu which sticks with the Mediterranean concept while offering a selection of exciting new dishes.

The Azura signature table grills are a popular choice on the evening we dine, with the buckets of either meat or seafood served to the table amidst billows of smoke in an enticing show of dinner theatrics. These are certainly meant for sharing and we mark these down in memory for a future visit. Azura’s menu has wisely been kept short and succinct allowing the culinary team to focus on a smaller number of dishes executed to perfection. Expect a couple of soups (lentil or seafood gumbo) amongst the six additional appetisers. There’s something for everyone with mussels, king crab and baked oysters all represented. We, however, select the octopus carpaccio which presents thin slices of octopus tendril with peach cubes, confit potato and a sweet tamarind dressing, the resulting plate is a flavour sensation and one that should not be missed.

Being Mediterranean inspired, the main courses are mainly centred around seafood with whole rainbow trout or mahi mahi making for appealing choices. The black cod with miso is executed well and offers an extremely tender piece of fish enhanced by an Asian dressing that boasts an unexpected fiery kick. Desserts feature a rose and raspberry pavlova, a blueberry creme brulee and our personal preference, the Galaktoboureko.

The Greek dessert may be difficult to pronounce but is well worth the effort, for the reward is a semolina custard topped with a crisp filo crust that is as alluring as it is addictive. This rooftop establishment is perfect for the current winter months and impresses thanks to the new food offering which has raised the bar to new heights at this 5-star property.