A new café concept opens in Al Bateen
New outlets Coya, Tashas and Fogo de Brazil reviewed and rated by our panel of experts
what do you get if you mix South African cuisine with Arabic and Mediterranean dishes, influences and décor? Tashas, a new high-end café in Al Bateen. Originally launched 12 years ago by South African Natasha Sideris, the Abu Dhabi branch is the first in the capital and will likely ruffle a few feathers among the city’s café scene, because Tashas is a cut above most we’ve visited in the capital.
The venue can hold 183 foodies and it’s a big space with one massive ace up its sleeve – an awesome, huge alfresco area. Its veranda offers tranquil views of boats at Al Bateen Marina, while the wooden flooring, stylish tables, wicker chairs plus giant plant pots (the highlight being a huge tree trunk table as a centre-piece) are rustic and homely. Inside is also slick, bright and airy with creams and whites dominating the walls and furniture.
The menu features a weighty salads section, mini burgers, fillet steaks, salmon fish cakes, pasta dishes, quesadillas, sandwiches, breakfast dishes and more – it’s so vast it’s a little overwhelming at first. To start, check out the tapas. A portion of grilled calamari, perfectly executed with olive oil, lemon and chopped parsley and butter, was excellent and the simple flavours let the rich taste of the squid shine. A decent portion of breaded, fried cauliflower offered an almost sharp, tangy taste but was light and not greasy at all.
For mains, the chicken Vietnam sandwich is pricey at Dhs90, but is the size of a small car, meaning you’ll get at least two meals out of it. Two chicken breasts marinated in a sweet and sour sauce were surrounded by mounds of shredded carrot, green beans and chunks of avocado, and served in a ciabatta. While a little spicy, the heat didn’t overwhelm the varied flavours.
The highlight though was the aubergine, veal and yoghurt crumble. A huge roasted egg plant was filled with minced meat, garlic, pine nuts, chilli, mint and tahini yoghurt and pomegranates. The flavours worked incredibly well together, especially the pomegranates with the veal.
What’s On left Tashas with big smiles on our faces. It’s the whole package, offering quality food in a unique setting – and we think you’ll also have a grin on your face if you pay them a visit.
Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi, Sat to Wed 8am to midnight, Thur and Fri 8am to 1am. Tel: (02) 4450890. Taxi: near Crown Prince Court. tashascafe.com