Indigo Saturday Brunch - Beach Rotana Hotel, Abu Dhabi

I am always on the look out for a brunch with what I called 'an X factor'. This brunch certainly has it: firstly it is on a  Saturday and secondly it is a bit of a niche brunch serving Indian cuisine. I like the idea of a Saturday brunch because I hate the way the weekend ends. In the sentiment of TS Eliot, with a whimper and not with a bang. 


The view from my terrace table

Some talking points from the brunch

Concept
It could not be simpler. A menu is given to guests. Guests check the dishes they want and these are served, a la carte style. No need to go anywhere. It is really perfect for lazy Saturdays. They have nailed the concept. They have also recognised that discerning guests are tiring of buffets, something I predicted last year. This trend will continue. The resultant personalised service and meaningful human contact is what people want more of. 



The manager
Occasionally it happens where one meets a restaurant manager who actually makes a dining experience more special than it would otherwise have been. Meeting Shipra was one of those occasions. One of the things I have lamented about restaurants in Abu Dhabi is the lack of product knowledge. She has been with Indigo a short time, but I can see how she will transform service. She knows her product very well, and is able to take guests on a  cultural journey as she explains each dish. Now imagine every waiter being able to do that.

Crisp potato & cashew patties.

The dishes
The menu has 5 parts: Small bites, Big bites, Side bites, Must have dishes and of course dessert. I started off with the small bites. The portions are perfect and allow you to have a few different menu items. There were some outstanding small bites. The Tandoori aloo chat was simple but so tasty. If you have not had this, it is tandoor roasted potatoes with lemon and tamarind. It has a lovely contrast to it. The key, though, was the way the potatoes were baked. They were not overdone. Just right.

The Chicken tikka was beautifully prepared. This is a dish I usually try to avoid because it is often overcooked. Not this time. Still quite a bit of moisture there. In contrast though, I found the Amritsari fish tikka somewhat dry. A minute less would have made all the difference. 

Then there was the Chicken momos, a delightfully curious dish on the menu because of its heavy North Asian roots. One forgets that North India is close to China, and the momos were brought to India by Tibetans. They are essentially dumplings containing steamed chicken mince. The flavours are light and would make it onto the menu of any dim sum menu in the city.

Finally, the Dahi bhalla,  a lentil dumpling in sweet yogurt,  is just a surprise. It is sweet and refreshing, and is almost a palate cleanser amidst the spicy dishes. 


Kingfisher, of course. 

Of the big bites, I go with a classic, Butter chicken because it is soul food, isn't it? It is that dish that you don't want messed with. Keep it simple. Less is more. All the cliches are applicable - smooth, creamy and flavourful. Then, I have the Punjabi style bhunna lamb. The lamb just breaks apart as I bite into it. The curry is full of those beautiful spices and Chef has also increased the curry level. Great dish. I appreciate the fact that staff checked with guests in terms of the degree of spiciness they wanted in their dishes. Very thoughtful. Again, it is about personalising an experience. 

Of the Must have dishes, I choose the Tandoori aloo parantha and 100 mile ki chai, a dish with its origins on the long haul roads in India where drivers would stop for something light that would refresh and sustain them for the next 100 miles of their journey. 

Chai


Indigo is a perfect Saturday concept. The laid back and relaxed feel is just what you need after a busy Friday. The value it offers is tremendous, especially if you consider the quality of the experience. If you enjoy Indian food, especially North Indian, this is an experience not to be missed. 

The low down

Indigo Saturday is the new Friday Brunch
Beach Rotana Hotel, Abu Dhabi
02 697 9000

Soft drinks package 222AED++
House beverages 295AED++ 


Brandon Stoltenkamp

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