So I admit that I had to drag myself out this weekend. After a full week of...lets just say minor stomach issues for the bebe, which resulted in continuous diaper changes...I was pretty unexcited about attempting what could potentially be just another cafe on that bloody hot, unshaded yacht harbor in Al Bateen. I could not have been more wrong. Tasha's Cafe is a level (or 5 levels) above the competition, in terms of flavors, freshness and creating a space that people want to return to. In fact, even though I live across the city, I am already plotting my return...in ridiculous heat, with the bebe and all.
Tasha's is a South African cafe, that saturated its homeland to stretch into Dubai, and finally reached out here, to the boonies, Abu Dhabi. They are not flashy or trendy, but rather they focus on quality ingredients and natural flavors. They create modern food that is hard to forget, and in fact 80% of their clients are repeat customers. They offer breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and the Abu Dhabi location has a signature "Tapas" sharing menu, which no other Tasha's location has.
One of Tasha's tag lines is "Beautiful Food", and as we started with just a few tastes from the tapas menu, I was really impressed with the simple, clean and very appealing presentation. And then the taste....The fried halloumi was super crispy, the spinach- feta hummus was creamy and just salty enough, and the avocado and edamame salad was incredibly refreshing, and tart with fresh lemon. All are served along side mounds of warm za'ater-covered pita bread, and thin cracker-like slices of baguette.
Tasha's specializes in a few different things and one of those is salads. I know. Salads can be soooo boring. I love vegetables, and I will still try to steer clear of salads. But, at Tasha's, they are anything but boring. Creative and hearty is a better description. The Texas Salad with loads of fresh corn cut right off the cob, black beans and spicy rocket is one of their most popular (for good reason), but my favorite was actually the Kale and Pearl Barley, which comes with loads of perfectly tender fresh kale, juicy cherry tomatoes, avocado and a chili yogurt dressing. All the salads are generous portions, and trust me that even the half-size portion is very filling for one person.
For the main course, we tried two dishes that are special to our Abu Dhabi Tasha's only. The Chicken Vol-au Vent and the Chicken Chops with Fries, unfortunately both are quite pricey with the former at 105aed ($29), and the later at 155aed ($42). Vol-au-Vent will make you lick your plate with the buttery pastry and rich creamy sauce scattered with large chunks of chicken and browned mushrooms. The Chops are not as large a dish as you might expect but the quality is superb. The Chicken is tenderly grilled, while the skinny fries are everything fries should be.
Tasha's does a whole coffee and sweets business of its own. I only tasted the Hazelnut Cheesecake and the special Doxa Chocolate slice, but I recommend both. The cheesecake is light and creamy, while not overly dense and rich like the standard American version. The Doxa is a little more decadent. A fairly dense rectangular slice of chocolate cake, drizzled in milk chocolate, and of course, a la mode.
The service was very good, and very friendly....after all when all the waitstaff are wearing converse and they give the bebe a gingerbread man to chew on as soon as you are seated, they get an A+. Maybe they just really want to keep kiddies from destroying the peaceful and relaxed ambiance, but whatever.... They also replace your cutlery often and keep your table clean and cleared. I was thrilled because a dirty cluttered table is a suuuper annoyance.
I honestly can't wait to go back. With their extensive menu, it will take multiple times before you can really get a sampling of their different offerings....i.e breakfast, coffee, sweets, or just anytime. Tasha's sets a nice standard for the cafe culture here in the city with few competitors currently of their caliber.
Unit B02 Cafe, Marsa, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi
phone: +971 2 445 0890
sunday - saturday: 8:00am - 12:00am