A se­cond branch of the pan-Asian opens

What's On (Abu Dhabi) - - CON­TENTS -

avalid ques­tion was asked when it was an­nounced that a se­cond Cho Gao was go­ing to open in Abu Dhabi this sum­mer – does the cap­i­tal re­ally need two branches of the pan-Asian out­let? This new one, af­ter all, has a lot to live up to. Cho Gao is one of the city’s older restau­rants, and is pop­u­lar with a loyal clien­tele.

The Ma­rina Walk branch proves there is enough room for two. While you’ll recog­nise the Asian dé­cor and lanterns if you’ve been to the down­town out­let al­ready, this se­cond eatery is con­sid­er­ably big­ger, and has an al­fresco area over­look­ing the ma­rina (hence the name). Cho Gao sits where The Yacht Club used to. Most im­por­tantly, the menu is dif­fer­ent at the se­cond branch, al­though it sells sushi, cur­ries, stir fries and noo­dle dishes from China, Thai­land, Malaysia and beyond, just like it does up the road.

A starter of fried salt and pepper squid in bat­ter was sat­is­fy­ingly salty, with a help­ing of chilli on the side, al­though the por­tion was ever so slightly soggy in parts. Make them a lit­tle more crisp and they’d be per­fect. A bao taco, a taco-shaped bread filled with a giant prawn and spicy mayo, was sweet and spicy, and with a lit­tle less may­on­naise would again be spot on. The best ap­pe­tiser was the pomelo salad, a Thai dish with chicken, prawns, chilli jam, lime, peanuts and co­rian­der. It was a light, fresh, zesty lit­tle num­ber and a wel­come re­lief from the heav­ier fried dishes.

For the mains, the black pepper beef with onions is a classic Asian dish and was well ex­e­cuted – this time, the sauce ra­tio was spot on. A veg­etable green Thai curry, full of car­rots, broc­coli and cau­li­flower, was also scoffed quickly. Both were ac­com­pa­nied by a por­tion of Char Kway Teow noo­dles. These big fat, flat noo­dles were fried with eggs and prawns, mus­sels and squid, and it’s a Malaysian dish sim­i­lar to pad Thai. While heavy, it was an­other hit.

Cho Gao Ma­rina Walk has a huge bar, and un­like the orig­i­nal out­let, al­lows smok­ing, mean­ing it will at­tract an­other au­di­ence. The food was gen­er­ally good on our visit and the staff friendly and ef­fi­cient. Over­all, we left feel­ing you can have too much of a good thing.

In­terCon Abu Dhabi, Al Ba­teen, Abu Dhabi, Sat to Wed 6pm to 1am, Thur and Fri 6pm to 2am. Tel: (02) 6666888. Taxi: In­terCon.din­ing -in­tercon­ti­nen­tal

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