‘Modern Indian cuisine’ is how this hotel dining room within the Yas Island Rotana bills itself. But while the look the place is reasonably contemporary by the standards of Abu Dhabi, the menu is reassuringly traditional and much of the spicing is on the mild side.
Starters see a line-up of curry house favourites. There’s Chettinad fried chicken, grilled jumbo prawns, lamb chops, seekh kebab, tandoori chicken or a milder dish of chicken breast marinated in cashew, Cheddar cheese, cardamom and cream.
If you can’t decide what to order, sharing platters include a vegetable plate with paneer tikka and hariyali tikka or a meat version with chicken and lamb options.
To follow, there are curries (chicken or sea bass with coconut, say), butter chicken, lamb shank and braised lamb masala, as well as chicken, lamb, veg and prawn biryanis. Vegetarian options are as good as you’d expect from an Indian restaurant: mild spiced tomato soup, onion bhaji and spinach fritters, perhaps, followed by saag paneer and a chickpea casserole.
All main courses are served with steamed basmati rice while side orders take in all the usual roti, naan and paratha for mopping up the sauces with or scooping up the contents of a bowl of black or yellow lentil dal. Traditional Indian desserts include kulfi, rasmalai and gulab jamun as well as homemade ice cream and a choice of sorbets.
Shiny marble floors and full-length windows are standard for an Abu Dhabi hotel, but bright jewel-coloured fabrics on the curtains and cushions add a bit more character, as too the lanterns hanging from the ceiling, while the best seats are the sofas which seat groups around a table in one of the booths.
Daily shisha smokings on the terrace from 6 to 11pm and brunch on Friday afternoons add to the attractions.