Healthy grub in fu­tur­is­tic Mas­dar City

What's On (Abu Dhabi) - - CONTENTS -

In­dian out­let Mynt and gluten-free café Skinny Ge­nie get re­viewed, we ex­plore the new Roberto’s Satur­day brunch and tell you where to go if you want to try Emi­rati dishes dur­ing this Holy Month

It won’t come as a sur­prise to learn that a restau­rant with the word ‘Skinny’ in the name isn’t big on junk food such as burg­ers and piz­zas. But Skinny Ge­nie, which its cre­ators call a “health-con­scious lifestyle brand”, not only caters to food­ies look­ing to save calo­ries, but also has plenty of dishes for vegans and those of you shun­ning gluten.

There’s al­ready a branch in Dubai, with a sec­ond in the works, and you’ll find Skinny Ge­nie (which opened about five months ago) in the cap­i­tal a stone’s throw away from the Siemens car park en­trance in Mas­dar.

It’s more than just a restau­rant in­side. They sell Fair Trade cof­fee made in Dubai, bot­tles of their own brand of olive oil, plus en­ergy bars and packs of muesli. There’s a pas­tries counter serv­ing gluten-free crois­sants and muffins. Skinny is clearly try­ing to ap­peal to a mixed au­di­ence of peo­ple who don’t want to eat any junk food. It’ll also ap­peal to those of you who want to re­cy­cle and save the planet. You won’t find much plas­tic here – even the straws are pa­per and drinks are served in glass jars.

The dé­cor is sim­ple (plants line the walls, wood dom­i­nates) and a fo­cal point is a gi­ant fridge, which has most of the items fea­tured on the menu on dis­play in big glass pots, with la­bels list­ing their calo­ries.

The menu is split into sec­tions, in­clud­ing the afore­men­tioned bak­ery snacks (they make gluten-free bread), break­fast, sal­ads, soups and sand­wiches, wraps and mains and fi­nally, desserts. This is more of a café style out­let, so there’s no real starter por­tions to speak of, but What’s On kicked off with a menu high­light – a pump­kin, feta and beetroot dip salad that was colour­ful, packed full of greens and worked in­cred­i­bly well. All the flavours got a chance to shine, not one over­whelmed the oth­ers. A por­tion of pump­kin soup though was a lit­tle bland – while the sweet­ness of the pump­kin cer­tainly was ev­i­dent, it needed a lit­tle more piz­zazz. A gluten-free fusilli pesto salad fea­tured pep­pers, Kala­mata olives, pine nuts and pars­ley, but the olives some­how dom­i­nated all other flavours. Not an is­sue if you like olives, but it wasn’t the taste ex­plo­sion the menu hinted at. One dish that did de­liver, though, was a main of An­gus beef stroganoff with mixed quinoa. Made with broc­coli, beetroot and gherkins, it ben­e­fited from not be­ing too creamy, again al­low­ing all the flavours to de­liver.

For dessert, a baked mango cheese­cake with vegan cream took a few mouth­fuls to get used to, but the al­most savoury tast­ing cream im­proved with each dip of the spoon. There is a dish on the menu that surely isn’t healthy, de­spite the restau­rant’s claims – a deca­dently smooth, dark Bel­gian choco­late mousse with full cream. Vegans look away now, but it was a menu high­light.

Over­all, What’s On left im­pressed – a cou­ple of dishes need a tweak but it’s an out­let that is much needed in the cap­i­tal.

Mas­dar City, Abu Dhabi, Sat to Thur 9am to 11pm, Fri 11am to 11pm. Tel: (02) 5555897. Taxi: Mas­dar. skinny-ge­

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