de thali - Abu Dhabi

My daughter managed to twist my arm so we ended up here for lunch, not that I complained. I like the thali concept:  a plate that gives you a taste of about 5 different dishes. For those not sure what I thali is, have a look at my previous post:

From the above post you can see that I really enjoyed my visit. I am not the only one that likes this place. Timeout Abu Dhabi reckons this is one of the best Indian restaurants in the city. Forget that it is probably the best budget dining experience, it is great Indian food period.

There are no maroon waistcoat clad waiters here. That would clash with the modern feel of this eatery. Cool wall posters make you feel you are in a very different Indian restaurant. Seating options include private rooms which can seat up to 16 people.

Adequate seating options

The best of northern India on your plate.
We ordered the Masahari thali consisting of potato curry, cabbage, dal, curd (yoghurt), mutton curry and something akin to chicken tikka. Included in the thali was something sweet of course: the gulab jamun (a super sweet dumpling style treat, or a sugar ball as I call it!) Of course, there was rice, and naan too. We also ordered two a la carte items: the mutton ishtoo which was kerala style lamb  in coconut milk, onions and pepper corns. Finally, we ordered the vellai kuruma, a cauliflower curry.

The thali was , as expected, good. They do thalis really well here, hence the name of the restaurant. The mutton curry was particular tasty with tender mutton that was so tender it could have been mistaken for lamb. But the highlight was undoubtedly the mutton ishtoo. The cocnut milk base was absolutely delicious. Not too spicy, but with enough zing to make you feel you were having an Indian dish.

The cauliflower curry

The coconut milk and curry base - amazing!

What did I drink? Having a thali with no masala chai is like having sushi without beer, or  a hot dog with no Coke, so when  we were told that they had issues with the boiler, so could not make chai, I sighed sadly.  However, I was politely relentless and I asked again. The kitchen staff were wonderful. They managed to get me my chai. Not sure how. Loved it. These are the things one remembers about restaurants - the way they are willing to go the extra mile to make something happen for the customer. That is service.

de thali really is a wonderful restaurant. Even though it is in a shopping centre, it is worth visiting. I often hear from friends that they spent between 300-500 Dhs  for 2 at a high end Indian restaurant based in  a hotel. I don't get that. I find that the chef in that little kitchen in a place like de thali is going to give me as authentic an experience as the one who will serve my meal on fine Staffordshire bone china. It proves again that you do not need to spend a lot of money to have great-tasting Indian food.

The low down

de thali,
Madinat Zayed Shopping Centre Extension,
Abu Dhabi,
02 639 7228
Meal for 3  120 Dhs