Going out for dinner midweek with friends and can’t decide where to go?
That was my dilemma last week when we wanted to catch up after work on a Tuesday evening in the United Arab Emirates’ capital.
In the mood for something light, we rejected grilled meat and greasy cheesy options straight away.
Our best bet: a buffet offering different cuisines and lots of nibbles to last the evening.
Solution: Toshi, Grand Millennium, Abu Dhabi.
With a varied offering from Japanese, Thai, Indonesian and Chinese cuisines, the freedom of choice meant everyone could concentrate on swapping office gossip and enjoying a midweek evening of fun in one of finest Abu Dhabi hotels.
The surprisingly large and unmistakably Asian restaurant, hosts a number of theme nights including the seafood night every Sunday, the sushi and tepanyaki buffet every Tuesday and Thursday and sushi nights on the remaining days.
The décor, in red and black spells warmth and chic, and the 83-seater restaurant is thankfully better lit than a lot of other Asian-themed places. At AED 270 per person with an unlimited selection of house beverages, including beer, wine and selected spirits, the deal was too good to miss. Although this particular Tuesday was a quiet day, we were warned that Thursdays can be busy with regular patrons and booking a table is a wise choice.
Starting with a hot and sour Chinese soup, we moved to the salad station to find Kimchees, Thai beef salad, glass noodle with chicken sausage salad and pickled papaya on offer!
The starters were just as varied. Fried shrimp and squid rings, egg noodles and egg fried rice were on offer but the one that raised hopes was the deep fried “Money Pocket”. Alas, it offered only a taste explosion and no monetary benefits.
Conversation and free-flowing beverages kept us busy with stops every now and then for a quick trip to the sushi station. Sweet Tamago Maki, Spicy Mixed Fish Maki, Mixed Vegetable Maki besides the usual California Maki brought us back to the counter for seconds and even thirds.
Some headed instead for the tepanyaki station where Chef Ricardo tossed up chicken, lamb and beef tepanyaki options based on individual tastes. And with fresh shrimp, king fish, cream dory, clam and mussels on display, there was plenty to choose from.
We were not really expecting to be hungry enough for dessert but passed by the dessert counter anyway.
Fresh fruits, Thai chocolate fondue and an assortment of cakes all looked tempting.
But the one that finally made us break our resolve? The Toshi specialty of melon ice cream and banana foster. Must try.
As the night wore on, we left on a happy note. The weather in the United Arab Emirates is slowly changing for the better and we will be back for sure for another culinary ride through Asia. With a large, loud, mixed group of friends.
(By P. Bedi)