The view from Ray’s Grill on the 63rd floor of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers. Christopher Pike / The National
The view from Ray’s Grill on the 63rd floor of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers. Christopher Pike / The National

Restaurant review: Ray’s Grill at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi

After launching earlier this year in Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi, Ray’s Grill has been generating a buzz in the capital.

Not to be confused with Ray’s Bar – which is one floor below – Ray’s Grill replaced the restaurant Quest, which closed in December.

After an ear-popping ascent to the 63rd floor, we were greeted by a friendly hostess and seated near a window overlooking what might be the best view of the capital – one that would be all the more stunning if the lights were dimmed a little. We found it too bright for a fine-dining experience – a visit to the more dimly lit Ray’s Bar proves that lower lighting works much better.

The interior of the restaurant hasn’t changed much since its Quest days. The tables are sleek and simple, surrounded by beige or black leather chairs. All offer views of the skyline and most also allow you to watch the chefs busy at work in the central, open kitchen.

The background music is mostly upbeat jazz – but when Creedence Clearwater Revival comes on, I’m left wondering what the musical theme is meant to be.

To begin with, the service was impeccable. Friendly and confident, our server knew the menu well. He was attentive, yet unobtrusive. But while he was no less friendly as the night wore on, he was less attentive during the second half of our meal. We waited far too long for our mains to be cleared, during which time our server was taking an exceptionally long time to mix drinks on a trolley for another table.

He eventually motioned the bartender to attend to our table, which he did, clearing our plates and bringing the dessert menu – but only after we requested it. In fact, he served us for the rest of the meal, right down to settling the bill. Your server should never change halfway through a meal at a fine-dining restaurant.

As for the food, the restaurant did not have four items on the menu, three of which were significant shortfalls: oysters, tuna and lobster.

We ordered the smoked Wagyu salad (Dh75) and the crab cakes with Peruvian chilli (Dh65) for starters.

The salad – a rectangular mass of tender, mouthwatering chunks of Wagyu beef – was dressed in a smooth, sour-cream sauce. The two polenta-coated deep-fried ­jalapeño-cheese rounds it came with were crisp on the outside and filled with soft, strong cheese.

The crab cakes came with corn paste and a dollop of Peruvian chilli on the side, but there was no need for either. Generously stuffed with minced crab, these cakes were deliciously moist and can stand alone.

On to the main course, and the choice of steaks included US, Australian and Irish beef. Aged for at least 28 days, all of the meat is cooked over charcoal kept between 375° and 400°C.

Before our meat arrived, we were presented with a box of steak knives and told to “choose our weapon”. However, the difference between the knives was not ­explained.

My 300g US prime fillet (Dh225) was perfectly cooked to the ­medium-rare I had requested. The crispy, charred exterior gave way to a tender, juicy, exceptionally well-seasoned piece of meat. This was one of the best steaks I’ve had in the capital – if not the best. I had a side of mac and cheese (Dh25) at our server’s recommendation. The short rigatoni pasta was saturated in an irresistible combination of Gruyère, Comte and Parmesan cheeses. and was rich, creamy and velvety smooth.

My husband’s Australian rack of lamb (Dh165) didn’t get the same rave review, mostly due to the uneven cooking. While the flavour was on point, only one of the three chops was served as the requested medium-rare.

Halfway through our main course, we learnt of the elusive salt menu. When the salt on our table ran out, our server promptly wheeled over a trolley of salts from around the world. Why had we not been told about it from the start? “It’s only on request,” I was told. But if it’s your first time – as it was ours – you would never know to request it. Likewise, there is an extensive selection of mustards we found out about only by chance.

Our most interesting dessert was the warm apple crumble (Dh40) – mostly because it was infused with Pop Rocks, which added a level of unexpected fun. This dessert offers a perfect balance of sweet and sour and I loved the layered textures: soft, tart chunks of diced apple, crunchy crumbles, fizzing Pop Rocks, and cold, soft, green apple ice cream.

Our experience was good enough to bring us back another time, but closer attention to detail would serve this restaurant – and diners – well.

The high-quality food and the views are enough to entice diners through the door, but rectifying the few missteps in service and ambience could easily raise Ray’s Grill to a level well above the ­competition.

• A meal for two at Ray’s Grill, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi, costs Dh800. Call 02 811 5666. Reviewed meals are paid for by The National and conducted incognito

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

The Laughing Apple

Yusuf/Cat Stevens

(Verve Decca Crossover)

Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022

First match: November 20
Final 16 round: December 3 to 6
Quarter-finals: December 9 and 10
Semi-finals: December 13 and 14
Final: December 18


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures


Name: Mamo

Year it started: 2019 Founders: Imad Gharazeddine, Asim Janjua

Based: Dubai, UAE

Number of employees: 28

Sector: Financial services

Investment: $9.5m

Funding stage: Pre-Series A Investors: Global Ventures, GFC, 4DX Ventures, AlRajhi Partners, Olive Tree Capital, and prominent Silicon Valley investors.

Stormy seas

Weather warnings show that Storm Eunice is soon to make landfall. The videographer and I are scrambling to return to the other side of the Channel before it does. As we race to the port of Calais, I see miles of wire fencing topped with barbed wire all around it, a silent ‘Keep Out’ sign for those who, unlike us, aren’t lucky enough to have the right to move freely and safely across borders.

We set sail on a giant ferry whose length dwarfs the dinghies migrants use by nearly a 100 times. Despite the windy rain lashing at the portholes, we arrive safely in Dover; grateful but acutely aware of the miserable conditions the people we’ve left behind are in and of the privilege of choice. 


Sept 15: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka (Dubai)

Sept 16: Pakistan v Qualifier (Dubai)

Sept 17: Sri Lanka v Afghanistan (Abu Dhabi)

Sept 18: India v Qualifier (Dubai)

Sept 19: India v Pakistan (Dubai)

Sept 20: Bangladesh v Afghanistan (Abu Dhabi) Super Four

Sept 21: Group A Winner v Group B Runner-up (Dubai) 

Sept 21: Group B Winner v Group A Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)

Sept 23: Group A Winner v Group A Runner-up (Dubai)

Sept 23: Group B Winner v Group B Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)

Sept 25: Group A Winner v Group B Winner (Dubai)

Sept 26: Group A Runner-up v Group B Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)

Sept 28: Final (Dubai)


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets

Favourite place to go to in the UAE: The desert sand dunes, just after some rain

Who inspires you: Anybody with new and smart ideas, challenging questions, an open mind and a positive attitude

Where would you like to retire: Most probably in my home country, Hungary, but with frequent returns to the UAE

Favorite book: A book by Transilvanian author, Albert Wass, entitled ‘Sword and Reap’ (Kard es Kasza) - not really known internationally

Favourite subjects in school: Mathematics and science


Director: Youssef Chebbi

Stars: Fatma Oussaifi and Mohamed Houcine Grayaa

Rating: 4/5


Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5


Northern Warriors 92-1 (10 ovs)

Russell 37 no, Billings 35 no

Team Abu Dhabi 93-4 (8.3 ovs)

Wright 48, Moeen 30, Green 2-22

Team Abu Dhabi win by six wickets

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

Where to donate in the UAE

The Emirates Charity Portal

You can donate to several registered charities through a “donation catalogue”. The use of the donation is quite specific, such as buying a fan for a poor family in Niger for Dh130.

The General Authority of Islamic Affairs & Endowments

The site has an e-donation service accepting debit card, credit card or e-Dirham, an electronic payment tool developed by the Ministry of Finance and First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Al Noor Special Needs Centre

You can donate online or order Smiles n’ Stuff products handcrafted by Al Noor students. The centre publishes a wish list of extras needed, starting at Dh500.

Beit Al Khair Society

Beit Al Khair Society has the motto “From – and to – the UAE,” with donations going towards the neediest in the country. Its website has a list of physical donation sites, but people can also contribute money by SMS, bank transfer and through the hotline 800-22554.

Dar Al Ber Society

Dar Al Ber Society, which has charity projects in 39 countries, accept cash payments, money transfers or SMS donations. Its donation hotline is 800-79.

Dubai Cares

Dubai Cares provides several options for individuals and companies to donate, including online, through banks, at retail outlets, via phone and by purchasing Dubai Cares branded merchandise. It is currently running a campaign called Bookings 2030, which allows people to help change the future of six underprivileged children and young people.

Emirates Airline Foundation

Those who travel on Emirates have undoubtedly seen the little donation envelopes in the seat pockets. But the foundation also accepts donations online and in the form of Skywards Miles. Donated miles are used to sponsor travel for doctors, surgeons, engineers and other professionals volunteering on humanitarian missions around the world.

Emirates Red Crescent

On the Emirates Red Crescent website you can choose between 35 different purposes for your donation, such as providing food for fasters, supporting debtors and contributing to a refugee women fund. It also has a list of bank accounts for each donation type.

Gulf for Good

Gulf for Good raises funds for partner charity projects through challenges, like climbing Kilimanjaro and cycling through Thailand. This year’s projects are in partnership with Street Child Nepal, Larchfield Kids, the Foundation for African Empowerment and SOS Children's Villages. Since 2001, the organisation has raised more than $3.5 million (Dh12.8m) in support of over 50 children’s charities.

Noor Dubai Foundation

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the Noor Dubai Foundation a decade ago with the aim of eliminating all forms of preventable blindness globally. You can donate Dh50 to support mobile eye camps by texting the word “Noor” to 4565 (Etisalat) or 4849 (du).

The years Ramadan fell in May





Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices


Uefa Champions League last 16, second leg
Liverpool (0) v Atletico Madrid (1)
Venue: Anfield
Kick-off: Thursday, March 12, midnight
Live: On beIN Sports HD


Thursday (All UAE kick-off times)

Sevilla v Real Betis (midnight)


Granada v Real Betis (9.30pm)

Valencia v Levante (midnight)


Espanyol v Alaves (4pm)

Celta Vigo v Villarreal (7pm)

Leganes v Real Valladolid (9.30pm)

Mallorca v Barcelona (midnight)


Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

Real Madrid v Eibar (9.30pm)

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices


Creator: Tima Shomali

Starring: Tara Abboud, Kira Yaghnam, Tara Atalla

Rating: 4/5


Director: Carrie Cracknell 

Stars: Dakota Johnson, Cosmo Jarvis, Richard E Grant, Henry Golding and Nikki Amuka-Bird

Rating: 1.5/5

What is a robo-adviser?

Robo-advisers use an online sign-up process to gauge an investor’s risk tolerance by feeding information such as their age, income, saving goals and investment history into an algorithm, which then assigns them an investment portfolio, ranging from more conservative to higher risk ones.

These portfolios are made up of exchange traded funds (ETFs) with exposure to indices such as US and global equities, fixed-income products like bonds, though exposure to real estate, commodity ETFs or gold is also possible.

Investing in ETFs allows robo-advisers to offer fees far lower than traditional investments, such as actively managed mutual funds bought through a bank or broker. Investors can buy ETFs directly via a brokerage, but with robo-advisers they benefit from investment portfolios matched to their risk tolerance as well as being user friendly.

Many robo-advisers charge what are called wrap fees, meaning there are no additional fees such as subscription or withdrawal fees, success fees or fees for rebalancing.

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2