x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Cheap as chips: Ocean Chinese

For under Dh100 you get a Chinese meal in a faux pagoda with a tiger for company. What more could you ask for?

My first meal at Ocean Chinese was in 2007. I was flat-hunting and while the relationship with the estate agent ended badly, the love affair with Ocean is stronger than ever - and not nearly as expensive.

My priciest three-course meal there cost Dh94 for two. But before you read the menu, the Chinatown-meets-Africa decor is the talking point. The lighting is dimly flattering and the restaurant is bisected by a fish tank topped with a stuffed tiger and a tree protruding from the floor. For privacy, there are two booths at the back. What's not to love about a dinner for two under a red tin, pagoda-style canopy with wooden beaded curtains?

Try not to let the decor distract you from the generally delicious food. Portions are generous - even the dumplings are like overstuffed little pillows. The beef or lamb sizzler is my star dish - it arrives at your table on a wooden platter, with a black bean sauce and bright, crunchy vegetables.

My only warning would be to avoid the honey prawns and honey chicken, unless you enjoy your dinner with half a can of pineapple chunks. I'm pretty sure that nowhere else in Abu Dhabi can you can enjoy a meal for two for under Dh100 in a faux pagoda with a tiger for company.