“An ingenious reinterpretation of the flavors of the subcontinent, with a contemporary twist. A stunning, loft-style setting designed to foster social interaction and culinary discovery.” Tamba
The Abu Dhabi Dining and Nightlife scene is a tough nut to crack. The latest additions to The Hub, Bu! And Tamba located at the World Trade Centre Mall here in the capital have for want of a better expression, Nailed it! That cliche phrase ‘it’s a feast for your eyes and tastebuds’ that you often read in the media to describe a restaurant never rang truer than at Tamba. This sixth floor dark den offers fine dining Indian inspired cuisine that you probably have never tasted or seen so beautifully presented before.
Gifted a complimentary meal with a bottle of sparkling rose at the launch of The Hub, the other half and I made use of it this weekend to try out the full dinner experience after previously just sampling snippets of what Tamba, which means copper, had to offer at the two launch events we attended. The food was exquisite and innovative with tasty dishes served sharing style brought to the table as and when it’s ready. The menu takes Indian food to a new level, in Tamba’s own words ‘breathing new life into old traditions’, a small selection of dishes in different sections with additional sides. Diners are taken on a culinary journey of traditional Indian spices and flavours reinterpreted in a contemporary fashion.
To be completely honest the dishes are on the small side as you would expect with fine dining and those with a more healthy appetite will need to order a selection to satisfy their hunger, embracing the Tamba sharing style concept. The menu caters for guests with all dietary requirements with seafood, meat and vegetarian options as well as a raw section and indulgent desserts that are off the scale (more about that later). There’s an extensive wine list with a choice of bubbles and original Indian inspired cocktails.
We tried the beautifully presented Eggplant Bharta and Raw Red Snapper with kachumbar to start accompanied with a spinach salad, followed by mains of moist Black Cod served in a banana leaf, forty eight-hour slow cooked Lamb Shank with Rogan sauce and Potato Gatta curry served like gnocchi topped with foam, many new flavour combinations and everything was tasty. We added side dishes of pineapple raita (yogurt), dal, tri-coloured Quinoa Biryani and a plain naan to complement our choices. The diverse menu offers fresh and seasonal produce and upmarket choices such as grilled lobster, roast duck, pan seared scallops and crab all cooked in Indian spices.
Now let’s talk dessert. I have spoken often of my sweet tooth, my weakness of all things sugary is well documented but even I have never tasted a chocolate dessert so good as ‘The Break-up’ served at Tamba. Presented in a stone mortar the outer shell was smashed with a pestle by our server to reveal a dark chocolate mousse with peanut semifreddo and salted caramel which then had chocolate sauce poured all over it, exciting to watch and amazing to eat. In my experience, most Indian restaurants dessert selection is usually disappointing but Tamba have well and truly raised the bar with their sweet selections. I have already decided on dessert for my next visit, the warm caramelized banana toffee cake served with pecan nut praline and cardamom ice cream.
The staff were friendly and attentive, giving advice when needed and sharing their expertise and knowledge about the food they were serving, suggesting pairing and accompaniments to ensure we enjoyed the best combination. The management team were visual throughout our meal mingling with guests and visiting tables giving diners the personal touch, it was good to see such attention to detail from everyone that we encountered.
This stylish venue that has the wow factor in abundance, quite frankly the loft-style interior is striking. A glass fronted show kitchen with Tandoor ovens and lots of busy chefs, the dining area (private dining areas also available) and centralised bar are decorated with oversized bells, eclectic lighting and large artwork hanging on chain metal curtains. Chocolate brown, gold and copper colours are offset with touches of muted green, I loved the patterned latticework dividers, the weighty different shaped ceramics and the heavy copper coloured cutlery. The outdoor roof terrace is lit with large candles in glass and chrome lanterns and has cityscape views, the resident DJ sets the mood with a playlist of remixed old tracks and new tunes.
We left full to the brim and content, a great evening of mouthwatering food and excellent service, we caught a dose of Tamba fever this weekend and I recommend you try this restaurant as soon as you have space in your diary.
Location: The Hub at The Mall, World Trade Centre Abu Dhabi
Telephone: 02 672 8888
Opening hours: Weekdays 12:00pm – 01:00am, Weekends 12:00pm – 02:00am
All views are my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2016. All rights reserved. First photo used courtesy of tambarestaurant.com
Read more about Tamba Restaurant and The Hub in my previous post Review: The Hub, World Trade Centre Abu Dhabi