Monday, November 10, 2014

Weekend Perfection - Taste of Abu Dhabi

Personally my idea of a perfect weekend involves good food, music and a few drinks never hurt, right? *wink wink* However, unfortunately Abu Dhabi does not have too many events that I could boast about which excels at all three simultaneously.

So I was instantly jumping with joy when I initially read about "Taste of Abu Dhabi" and couldn't wait for the first week of November.

Before I get into details about my experience at Taste of Abu Dhabi, let me give you a gist of what Taste of Abu Dhabi actually is, it’s a three-day food carnival featuring 18 of Abu Dhabi's best fine-dining restaurants, which offered mini-samples of 4 popular dishes off their menus. Also the cuisines were diverse; it ranged from Lebanese to Indian, Chinese to Italian.

So I decided to go there on Saturday with a few friends, and take my word on this, this event was way more than just food, it almost convinced me that I was not in Abu Dhabi, but in some European country. The food, the ambiance, the crowd, the music, it was all impeccable.

My favourites from the various mini samples I tried out were, Caramel’s TNT shrimp, Avasa's Chicken Tikka, Villa Toscana’s Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli, Holland Mini Pancakes with Nutella and the Oreo and White Chocolate Doughnut from Love Doughnuts.

  • TNT Shrimp from Caramel - The TNT Shrimps were four extremely good looking, big crispy prawns topped with mayo and it was also a tad bit spicy, in a good way. It reminded me of the dynamite shrimps from P.F.Changs which is something I can swear by.

TNT Shrimp 

  • Chicken Tikka from Avasa - There were about 4 Indian restaurants at Taste of Abu Dhabi, but the winner hands down was Avasa, judging by the crowd gathered around the Avasa stall at all times. The chicken tikka was extremely well done; tender & juicy. It was marinated in red chili & mint, also the quantity of this dish was far better than most dishes served at Taste of Abu Dhabi, and hence it was a clear hit.

Chicken Tikka Counter 

  • Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli from Villa Toscana - Someone rightly said, don’t judge a book by its cover, the Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli failed to impress our eyes, but definitely created magic on meeting our taste buds. The quantity is less, but this pasta pocket stuffed with spinach, cream and cheese is definitely recommended.

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli 

  • Holland Mini Pancakes with Nuttela - My friend who is a recent Amsterdam return would shoot me down had I not tried out the Holland Mini Pancakes, because this is 1 place she has been raving about ever since she had gotten back. Initially I was rather shocked on seeing how tiny the pancakes were but the second I put the pancakes in my mouth, it literally melted and there I was smiling like a little child delighted with her candy.
Holland Mini Pancakes with Nutella 

  • Oreo & White Chocolate Doughnut from Love Doughnut - Love Doughnuts had a lot of options to choose from, but I couldn’t possible resist the temptation to pick a doughnut with two of my favourite ingredients, Oreo and White Chocolate i.e. and I’m glad I listened to my heart and went ahead with this because I absolutely loved it. It was fresh and fortunately not extra sweet.

There was no time to click a picture of the doughnut :D 

So yes, that was a short, ok maybe not short, but yes a review of my favourite dishes at the Taste of Abu Dhabi. Also do note that each dish was priced between 15 – 35 Dhs.

However like I said earlier, this event was more than just food, there were stalls by Zomato  Reserve Out and SPG Hotels that caught our attention along with the fantastic band that was performing here, courtesy McGettingan’s

A tiny video I tried taking of the band performance 

Zomato had some extremely fun games at their counter like Food Pictionary, Kidney Bean Sucker - where one had to basically suck the kidney bean by the straw to an empty bowl for a minute and another game where one had to blindfoldedly separate the safety pins from a rice bowl. Oh and they were kind enough to give away restaurant vouchers and witty posters!

Reserve Out and SPG Hotels on the other hand was perfect for photo lovers like me, I’m sure the pictures below shall explain why.

Lastly there were also a lot of celebrity chefs like Jun Tanaka, Jenny Morris & Eric Lanlard who were not just seen giving cooking lessons and tips to the visitors but also were roaming around the event and were seen posing for selfies with a lot of their fans.

All in all, a lovely event and also a little birdie told me that they might just come back with it again in February, let’s hope that’s true. 

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