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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

12 to try at Taste of Abu Dhabi: from Arabic street feasts to Peruvian ceviche

Aside from the usual suspects, this weekend's event includes 12 first-time participants

The fifth annual Taste of Abu Dhabi takes place at du Arena on Yas Island from today until Saturday. This year, expect to sample bite-sized dishes, meet celebrity chefs and enjoy live entertainment, as well as shopping at a farmers’ market, which has been set up in collaboration with Local Harvest, a brand under the Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre. Returning restaurants – Hickory’s, Leopold’s, Roberto’s and Sushina – aside, we bring you the 12 eateries participating at the event for the first time and the menus they’ll be offering.

Abu Jad

Corn and dips at Abu Jad. 
Corn and dips at Abu Jad. 

This Arabic street-food cafe is located at Umm Suqeim in Dubai, and will bring its much-loved shawarma (Dh30) and falafel sandwiches (Dh20) to Taste of Abu Dhabi. Also worth trying is the corn served with a variety of dips (pictured) and Arabic sweets on offer (Dh15 each).

Bouchon Bakery

French toast at Bouchon Bakery.
French toast at Bouchon Bakery.

A Dubai import, Bouchon is the result of a collaboration between Thomas Keller (the first and only American chef to have been awarded simultaneous Michelin ratings for two restaurants) and the Alshaya group. The tasting menu includes the bakery’s famed French toast with caramelised banana, vanilla custard and maple syrup (pictured), and Bouchon brownies (Dh20 each). For something a bit more savoury, try the English muffin breakfast bap, with piquilo aioli (Dh30) or grilled fontina and cheddar cheese on Vienna bread (Dh20).

Burger & Crab

Burger & Crab.
Burger & Crab.

The aim of this single-product restaurant is that the “quality of this one and only dish – the crab – is brought out to perfection”. That said, the menu does package the crustacean in innovative ways – from a crab and avocado wrap, and crispy crab and fries with cheese sauce (Dh30 each), to baked blood orange pie with crab mousse (Dh20).

Coya

The popular Peruvian eatery is known for its ceviches and Chilean sea bass, both of which will be on hand at the festival. The former includes the red snapper ceviche with truffle ponzu (Dh20), while the latter – arroz nikkei (pictured; Dh30) – is served with risotto-style rice, corn puree and lime. The aji limo (lemon drop) pepper makes an appearance in the burrata (Dh20) and Wagyu beef rib (Dh30) dishes, while dessert is a sour cream cheesecake with berry compote (Dh15).

Dai Pai Dong

Chinese fare at Dai Pai Dong. 
Chinese fare at Dai Pai Dong. 

A regular feature in the region’s best Chinese restaurant lists, the street-food style eatery that sits in Rosewood Abu Dhabi hotel will bring six of its signature dishes to Taste of Abu Dhabi, each available to enjoy for Dh30. These include Peking duck rolls, beef buns, chicken and shrimp sui mai, prawn har gow, barbecue chicken puff, and chicken and shrimp noodles.

Dean & Deluca

Tacos at Dean & Deluca. 
Tacos at Dean & Deluca. 

A New York institution founded in 1977, Dean & Deluca opened in Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates in 2016. For Dh30, the cafe will serve up sample-sized portions of its chicken shawarma nachos and tacos (pictured), and a healthy option in the form of a new potato, green bean and quinoa salad, unless you prefer its sweet potato Parmesan fries (Dh20).

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit

Chicken brisket at Dickey's.
Chicken brisket at Dickey's.

A month into its presence on the capital’s culinary scene, the 77-year-old family-owned Texas chain will bring its barbecued meats to its first food event in the UAE. “I have seen grown men struggle to get through our side dishes,” claims chief executive Roland Dickey. Here you can pit your appetite again the brisket or chicken meat plates, or mac stack (Dh30 each), or stick to sides such as barbecue beans and mac ‘n’ cheese (Dh15 each).

Limo

Seafood ceviche at Limo.
Seafood ceviche at Limo.

“Ceviche is a noble dish, but it requires the perfect balance of acidity and spice,” says Luis Manuel, chef de cuisine at Limo. “And aji [chilli pepper] is one of the most integral ingredients to our cooking.” Accordingly, the Peruvian restaurant, housed at Bab Al Qasr, will offer its boiled seafood ceviche with aji rocoto leche de tigre (pictured; Dh20), alongside smoked roasted chicken with adobo; and shrimp tempura with sriracha mayo and avocado sauce (Dh30 each).

Matsu

Eel at Matsu.
Eel at Matsu.

The Japanese restaurant located in the Yas Links Club is run by chef Chitoshi Takahasi, who is keen to preserve the fresh and high-quality ingredients that the cuisine is known for. Here, you can try the grilled eel on steamed rice (pictured), grilled sweet miso yellowtail (Dh30 each) and salmon sushi (Dh20 for two pieces).

Nolu’s

Healthy bowl at Nolu's
Healthy bowl at Nolu's

This is not technically the first time Nolu’s has appeared at Taste, but the Afghan- Californian restaurant returns to the event after a gap of three years, with an updated menu. The go-to spot for foodies and the health-conscious alike, the café, which has outlets in Al Bandar and the Galleria Mall, is popular for its build-your-ownbowl section. Here, you can try one of the healthy mini bowls (pictured; Dh30) along with kabob skewers, shola with lamb (Dh30 each) and Afghani dumplings (Dh20).

Shang Palace

Prawns at Shang Palace.
Prawns at Shang Palace.

This Cantonese restaurant is traditional and consistently good. It’s forever celebrating cultural and culinary events, such as the Chinese mid-autumn festival and Year of the Dog festivities, as well as creating a master yum cha dim-sum menu and hosting a kung fu tea master. This is, however, the eatery’s first sojourn outside the Shangri-La, and on the menu are staples including tiger prawns (pictured), Cantonese chicken, rice paper rolls and sea bass in banana leaf, all for Dh30.

Theatre by Rhodes

New York deli burger at Theatre by Rhodes.
New York deli burger at Theatre by Rhodes.

Instead of the latest movie, munch on Gary Rhodes’s gourmet snacks while watching former Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle, 2017 Britain’s Got Talent singer Sarah Ikumu, and tribute band The Bootleg Beatles, who will all perform at Taste of Abu Dhabi this year. Your options include: peppered beef fillet sticks with pomegranate and chilli jam; Rice Krispie prawns with chilli sauce; New York deli burger (pictured; Dh30 each), and a sticky date and toffee pudding (Dh15).

Taste of Abu Dhabi at the du Arena is open today from 4pm to 11.30pm, tomorrow from noon to 11pm and on Saturday from noon to 10pm. Tickets are available from www.tasteabudhabi.com