A new tapas bar hits the capital
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.