Ramadan begins at the end of the week and, as the temperature is rising quickly here in our approach to summer, the excitement is mounting. Dates and nuts are all on special at stores around the city. Restaurants are touting their special Iftar menus as everyone is beginning to plan their nightly celebrations. Iftars run the gamut from high-end to casual (which you will get a little taste of here on the blog within the next few weeks), and one of the new casual options this year is the newly opened Genghis Grill. Its focus is traditional grilling across Asia and they are well known for their healthy "bowls" which are a create-your-own idea. It is something like a Chipotle concept in the US, but your bowl is is cooked right in front of you. And they even have vegetarian and vegan options. I was surprised to hear that the chef makes special sauces just for vegans. Abu Dhabi just might be coming along.
On this occasion however, I went specifically to try their specially created Iftar menu (for breaking the daily fast during Ramadan). They have a really affordable menu at only 85aed ($23), which allows you a taste of a variety of their most popular dishes. You begin with fresh fruit and juicy dates (as is traditional for Iftar), served along side chewy sweet potato dumplings in coconut milk. The dumplings have the chewy texture of mochi...so just slightly addicting. The idea is to quickly, but healthily, raise your blood sugar back to normal after fasting all day.
The meal then begins with a tasting of starters including a spicy, citrusy soup, crispy Asian salad, hot and crunchy vegetarian spring rolls and two tender beef skewers with a nutty dipping sauce. Soon after, sticky chicken dumplings are served piping hot with a spicy dipping sauce. Then the main platter is served with a tasting of four different dishes. Coconut Lemongrass Cod Curry, Egg Noodles with Bok Choy, Kung Pow Chicken with toasted cashews, and sauteed Green Beans and Mushrooms in a black bean sauce. Everything tastes fresh and not overly salted. The meal feels light but satisfying.
The final course is a simple dessert of Arabic rice pudding, and my favorite, the White Chocolate Banana Butterscotch Cheese Cake. The crust is a Lotus cookie. (Um, yum.)
The service is very friendly and they love kids! There is even a real gong near the front door that they practically beg you hit....yea, so I did. Not sure how they put up with that sound all day, but it was amazing.
Level 2, Al Wahda Mall Extension, Abu Dhabi
Telephone : 025824449
Open at 11am daily
Open at 11am daily