“A great introduction to cultures is their cuisine. It not only reflects their evolution, but also their beliefs and traditions.” Vikas Khanna
Named after the traditional Indian colourful decorations, Rangoli restaurant has incorporated the rich colours used in the customary festival designs in it’s stylish and modern decor. The menu is diverse offering a combination of modern North and South Indian cuisine, each dish beautifully presented, bursting with spices and flavour representing the cooking style of its respective region.
We have been to dinner at this establishment many times over the past few years but this was our first time trying the A La Carte Friday brunch after hearing positive reviews. It’s ‘All You Can Eat’ concept is served at the table (table brunch is fast becoming my favourite way to brunch) along with Indian inspired cocktails, premium beverages and wines.
Abu Dhabi has a good choice of five star fine-dining Indian restaurants, Rangoli may not be top of my list but it certainly gets an A+ for trying. The food is fresh and tasty with aromas from the Tandoor in the show kitchen filling the room, the service is polite and unobtrusive and it’s an elegant place to relax especially if you are seated in one of the sumptuous curtained private booths. It couldn’t be further from the dimly lit local Indian restaurants in the UK (complete with red velvet chairs and a chocolate mint with the bill) that churn out mountains of lurid coloured curries and pilau rice but it still offers poppadoms with chutneys/dips and beer to start that we all love while we peruse the menu.
Rangoli brunch offers a range of dishes that can be shared, a sizable vegetarian selection offers non-meat eaters a varied choice. Classic age-old Indian dishes have been given a modern twist but stay true their roots in flavour. We started with the recommended mixed platter of starters and appetizers, Aloo Tikki (crispy potato patty), onion bhaji and vegetable samosas for me and chicken tikka, lamb seekh kebab and mustard salmon tikka for the other half accompanied by a green salad and a Rangoli daiquiri.
A tangy roasted tomato and coriander soup followed before we eased into the main courses, a carb overload for me with a plain naan, vegetable biryani and the North Indian spicy Punjab dish of masala aloo, a lively potato dish that certainly got my tastebuds firing. The Lamb Bhunna and Chemeen Moileey (coconut infused prawns) were the other half’s mains of choice both of which were fragrant and delicious. If you like a particular dish you can order extra, there are many other dishes too with a selection of curries and biryanis to sample, it’s all you can eat after all (if you have room).
On to my favourite course, dessert. Generally I find Indian restaurant’s sweet course disappointing (with the exception of Tamba), on this occasion there was nothing that looked tempting but we tried the Gulab Jamun anyway. The sugary sweet deep fried dumpling served in an even sweeter sugar syrup did nothing to change my opinion as it was far too saccharine even for my sweet tooth. I’m not a fan of cottage cheese so passed on the other dessert option, a selection of sorbets and ice cream were available but we declined those too.
The restaurant is divided into various sections with private dining areas, the aforementioned secluded booths and an open dining area next to the kitchen with views to the pool deck area. The exotic palette of predominantly pink and green is unusual for an Indian restaurant, dark wood furniture is offset by soft furnishings of bright and patterned textiles in the accent colours. If you like to watch what’s going on in the busy kitchen opt for a table in the open area.
Rangoli is a hidden gem tucked away at the back of the hotel where vibrant decor meets vibrant food but unfortunately on this visit the vibrancy did not carry through to the ambiance. I have been to Rangoli on several occasions for dinner and always enjoyed the experience, the Friday Brunch packages are competitively priced, the alcoholic option that includes unlimited food and premium beverages is just AED 269* so it has the potential to attract a crowd. If you like your brunch lively this is not the venue for you unless you bring your own party, if you are after a sophisticated, more intimate affair this is the ideal spot.
Location: Yas Island Rotana, Yas Island
Telephone: 02 656 4000
Opening Hours: Dinner 6:00 pm – 12 midnight (last order 11.30pm), Friday Brunch 12 noon – 4:00 pm
Friday Brunch inclusive of soft drinks – AED 149* and with premium beverages – AED 269*
* Subject to 10% Service Charge, 6% Tourism Fee and 4% municipality fee
Dress code: Smart Casual
All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2016. All rights reserved. Additional photo used courtesy of www.rotana.com