“Beautiful food. Stunning environments. Engagingly delivered.” Tashas
Upmarket South African cafe chain Tashas is causing quite a buzz with its first Abu Dhabi venue located in what seems to be the new epicentre of trendy cafes opening at Al Bateen waterfront. This stylish standalone venue has already attracted a substantial loyal following, there was barely a table to be had when we visited on a weekday lunchtime, even the outdoor terrace was busy with those braving the afternoon heat.
First impressions were good, the modern interior is quite stunning. Every branch of Tashas has its own unique theme that inspires both the decor and the local menu, in Abu Dhabi it’s Mediterranean. The natural tonal palette is complemented with plants in rattan baskets and eclectic chic accessories stacked on wooden shelves, lanterns of all shapes and sizes and coir baskets, cosy corners and casual seating areas. The stunning layered waterproof paper ceiling installation by Pretoria based artist Elonah O’Neil is a real talking point. We were presented with two menus, the large foldable Tasha’s classic menu which is available at all branches and the smaller separate ‘inspired by menu’ exclusive to diners in the capital.
To say there’s a lot of options would be an understatement. The classic menu is huge with everything from traditional and healthy breakfast choices to pastries, sandwiches and freshly baked cakes of the day. You can have quesadillas themed from all corners of the globe, pastas, salads, the healthier Food for Thought dishes and the Easy Eating section which includes the most expensive dishes available such as steaks, lobster rolls, lamb cutlets and salmon fish cakes. Beverage choices are as extensive as the food with fresh juices, cordials, granitas (crushed ice blended with fresh juices), mocktails, cold, ice and hot drinks and all manner of coffees.
The ‘inspired by menu’ offers all things Mediterranean featuring tapas served with pita, thirteen vegetarian options which is always pleasing to see as well as salads, meats and seafood such as peri peri chicken livers, beef carpaccio, grilled calamari and spicy prawns. When a cafe serves breakfast until 6pm it’s always a winner in my book. I had breakfast for lunch, taking the recommendation of our server I tried Mariachi. An exceptionally large plate of scrambled eggs topped with mountains of cubed avocado, fresh tomato, spring onion and grated parmesan served with tortilla. My dining companion chose quesadillas, the Mexican variety. Beef mince was combined with chilli, beans, red onion, coriander, cumin and emmentaler served with sides of guacamole and spicy tomato relish, after a squeeze of my fresh lime her meal was more to her taste.
Both fans of tapas we ordered a side of Patatas Bravas from the local menu which was very disappointing. The usual cubes of roasted potato topped with spicy tomato sauce and aioli were substituted with chips covered in a rather unpleasant tasting sauces that were distinctly more Arabic tasting than Spanish. The elderflower and pear granita however was refreshing especially on such a hot day.
While the portions were considerable and we were actually rather full our server convinced us that we must sample the Doxa chocolate slice. We shared the rich and decadent dark chocolate dessert that was topped with caramel-coated cashew nuts and served with vanilla ice-cream all covered in a separate milk chocolate sauce by our server at the table. Sweet and delicious.
Not one to rest on her laurels Tashas founder Natasha Sideris is looking to expand further in this region with three more branches planned to open this year. With fifteen locations already under her belt (thirteen in South Africa, one in Dubai and now Abu Dhabi) Sideris has a proven and popular boutique lifestyle concept which is as much about the aesthetics and the vibe as it is about the cuisine. For those home chefs amongst us Sideris has penned the Tashas cookbook, available to buy at the cafe, jammed packed with fresh and original recipes from the restaurant’s classic and inspired by menus. Also available to buy is Tashas coffee, the 100% African sourced product is a unique blend of Rwandan high grown bourbon beans, Tanzanian AA with a trace of Ugandan.
This newcomer is a welcome addition to the Abu Dhabi dining scene, cool interiors and a beautiful marina facing outdoor terrace, extensive menu choices that offer a perfect mix of healthy options and the more indulgent. Friendly and efficient staff, good coffee and fresh juices and with plenty of parking right outside the door, what’s not to love. I think I just found my new perfect place for long and lazy weekend breakfasts.
Location: Unit B02 Cafe, Marsa, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi.
Telephone: 02 445 0890
Opening Times: Daily 8:00am – 12:00am
I was invited to review Tashas. The views in this post are all my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2017. All rights reserved. Additional photos including featured image used with courtesy of www.visi.co.za
An edited version of this article first appeared in Dining and Nightlife Abu Dhabi Magazine – May 2017