WARE­HOUSE

A new tapas bar hits the cap­i­tal

What's On (Abu Dhabi) - - LIFE’S A BEACH - Pearl Rotana, Cap­i­tal Cen­tre, Abu Dhabi, Mon to Sun, 4pm to 1am. Tel: (02) 3075555. Taxi: Pearl Rotana, Cap­i­tal Cen­tre rotana.com

There are a lot of things to like about The Ware­house, a new tapas bar near the staid em­bassy dis­trict. The sep­a­rate en­trance, a rar­ity for a ho­tel eatery, for one. The eclec­tic, in­dus­trial feel, with con­crete floors, ex­posed vents, crates and cages, an­i­mals-in­cloth­ing art, funky, mid­cen­tury stools and or­ange leather booths. It’s also got a good lounge vibe, even

on a Tues­day, an­other rar­ity, es­pe­cially for its all-busi­ness lo­ca­tion in the new Pearl Rotana, Cap­i­tal Cen­tre com­plex be­side the Abu Dhabi Na­tional Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre.

The DJ pro­vided mu­sic was far too loud for both the hour and the crowd, but the man­age­ment obliged by turn­ing it down just enough notches at our re­quest. The one-page menu of­fers a broad se­lec­tion of tapas-style nib­bles, in­clud­ing slid­ers, steak bites and a range of meat and cheese boards.

Our meal was a mix of highs and medi­ocre. First, the medi­ocre: while the Siz­zling Prawns (Dh60) weren’t siz­zling, and con­sisted of one gi­ant prawn and half-dozen tiny ones, al­though the rich, but­tery broth they were served with was so tasty I passed on the ac­com­pa­ny­ing tog­a­rashi mayo. The Spicy Tuna Poke Tacos (Dh56) with toasted se­same, soy gin­ger salad and red radish were only spicy by way of a jalapeno slice, but oth­er­wise bland; the pale taco shell and tiny por­tion of tuna bits gave the com­bi­na­tion an un­ap­peal­ing tex­ture in the mouth.

Next time we’d take a pass on the mush­room Gruyere, thyme and gar­lic flat­bread, topped with rocket (Dh65), too. It was rec­om­mended as one of the most pop­u­lar menu items but, to us, was un­re­mark­able, con­sid­er­ing the other home runs and what the rest of the menu might of­fer.

As for the highs: we went for the XXL Grilled Cheese, which came with a hefty Dh94 price tag and is meant for shar­ing. We shared: al­most a half-me­tre of ched­dar, Gruyere and gouda good­ness on crusty, but­tery bread topped with pick­les. It was gor­geous and per­fectly pre­pared. We also loved the half-me­tre of spicy lamb mer­guez sausage (Dh70), which was burst­ing with flavour and heat, pro­vid­ing a great coun­ter­part to the bread and cheese.

As we had a nut al­lergy at our ta­ble, we had to pass on the amaretti and the blondies promised with our choco­late fon­due (Dh45), mean­ing we were left with a rather un­re­mark­able trio of marsh­mal­lows, straw­ber­ries and pret­zels. But never mind, be­cause the Jack ‘o – Eli­cious Split (Dh53) was out of this world: served in a halved bot­tle, the com­bi­na­tion of spirit-in­fused ba­nanas, spiked caramel ice cream and whipped cream was gone in a flash. That dessert is gor­geous.

The ser­vice at The Ware­house was fast and friendly. The menu over­all is rea­son­ably priced and there are also cost­cut­ting spe­cials on all week long. Over­all, The Ware­house is a warm, cosy venue, per­fect for set­tling in with a cou­ple of pals to catch up over a bite.

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