“Coya brings the soul of Latin America and its multidimensional dining experience to the country’s capital.” Coya Abu Dhabi
Coya Abu Dhabi, which opened in March, has brought its unique contemporary take on Peruvian cuisine to The Galleria on Al Maryah Island. Following the success of its first Middle East venue in Dubai the popular restaurant, complete with outdoor terrace and Pisco Lounge, is a standalone venue next to the Four Seasons Abu Dhabi. It has been well received in the capital, I’ve been three times and had three totally different experiences, good and bad.
A group of us went when it first opened for late night drinks, a fiasco with the doorman made it near impossible to even get through the door even though the venue was more than half empty. Not a good first impression which I put down to training/lack of communication between management and security. However once inside I liked what I saw, it’s a cool venue with colourful trendy decor, the large Pisco Lounge is funky with a DJ who was keeping the late night party alive.
My second visit was for lunch with a friend visiting from Dubai. Unfortunately it didn’t start well, we were asked if we had a reservation when there were only two other diners in the whole place, again a training issue or just a lack of common sense (a more personal touch rather than being a robot wouldn’t go amiss). On a positive note the food was really good, the business lunch menu had lots of choice for my dining companion and my a la carte vegetarian choices (guacamole and burrata) were top notch.
The service however was hit-and-miss, intrusive to a level where every conversation we had was interrupted, dishes were missing and the order confused. The crux of the bad experience came when four different servers tried to remove a dish that I hadn’t finished eating, a firm ‘leave my food alone’ may have been voiced. We left having really enjoyed the food but felt disgruntled with the overall experience.
My latest visit was a total success (third time lucky), a media Iftar where both the food and service were good. Now the cynic in me may put this down to it being my only visit as a non-paying customer but whatever the reason it cancelled out the two previous visits. Our Peruvian journey was a taste sensation that started with Medjool dates followed by soup, some delicious guacamole (again) and edamame topped with crispy garlic as appetisers.
My favourite veggie dish of the night was the tasty Causa de Beterraga (beetroot causa, goat cheese with walnuts and apple radish) which I wolfed down. This was closely followed by the Maki Roll de Aguacate (avocado with quinoa) and Quinoa Sofrita (quinoa with green vegetable stir fry). The other half feasted on Salmón a la Brasa (salmon with quinoa and green vegetables) and Lomo de Res (spicy beef with crispy shallots and garlic). There was one regionally inspired dessert, the moist and sweet Sticky Toffee Date Cake (served with camel milk ice-cream). I was impressed with the servers knowledge for a gluten intolerant guest and how he looked after her throughout the iftar.
Coya’s decor is on point, the main dining room is elegant with bold coloured furnishings (love the yellow chairs) and textiles, ornate screens and and golden lanterns accessorised with Incan touches.
A corner decorated with foliage is complemented with botanic wallpapered pillars, even the bathrooms are insta worthy. The Pisco Lounge has quite the selection of Pisco served in jars, the perfect spot for enjoying the Latin American vibe, the outdoor terrace has great views across the water and cityscape.
Coya Abu Dhabi is vibrant and fun in its decor, vibe and flavours transporting you straight to Peru, there is nowhere else like it in the capital. Overall I have always enjoyed the visually pleasing and tasty food even if it’s not always been the best experience. My faith has been restored since the Iftar and I’m looking forward to going back to try the brunch in the near future.
Coya Abu Dhabi
Location: Four Seasons Hotel, The Galleria, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi
Telephone: 02 306 7000
Opening Times: Daily 12:30pm – 11:00pm
I was invited to the attend the Galleria Iftar at Coya Abu Dhabi. All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2017. All rights reserved.