Kamoon - Khalidiya Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi

I first encountered Khalidiya Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi in 2014 during Ramadan when I visited the Beach Restaurant. What made an impression on me was the landscaping outside the restaurant. There was lush greenery and palm trees surrounding the swimming pool, and of course the sea was right there too. I thought it one of the nice hotel gardens in the city.

When I was told that The Beach had been renovated and rebranded as Kamoon, a restaurant dedicated to serving up traditional Arabic dishes, I jumped at the opportunity to visit again.

As I approach Kamoon, over the little wooden bridge immediately outside the hotel lobby, I see palm trees lighting up the area. The cool weather makes it an ideal time to sit outside. I will be dining with a couple friends - Arabic cuisine is not meant for one person after all. It is about companionship and sharing. Having looked at the menu in advance, I know that I want to try typical Arabic dishes and when Chef suggests we start with the Cold and hot mezze, I have no objection. What is more classic than a selection of mezze?

Selection of mezze
Our mezze is served and as I look at the well presented platter, I can see amongst others cheese sambousek, spinach fatayer, kibbeh  and meat sambousek. With the air a bit crisp, I go immediately for the cheese sambousek. It is piping hot and as I bite into it, the cheese just melts. The meat sambousek is just as good, with nothing overwhelming the taste. Just good balance of flavours. Also, the pastry is just right. With the body warm, I try the cold selection. The mutabal has an alluring smokiness and creaminess about it that I like. The accompanying pomegranate seeds add the usual tanginess. Again, nice balance.
Finally, I try the fatoush. This is my favourite of all the mezze on the night. It is a salad that has freshness and textures jumping out at you. Toasted Lebanese bread pieces, 19 different leaves and walnuts all combine wonderfully well. Highly recommended.

The service is easy going and prompt, with an energy about the waiters and waitresses as they they meet a steady flow of guests. For a Tuesday night it is quite busy.

For my main course I order the Kebab Qamar Al zamman consisting of marinated minced lamb stuffed with mozzarella cheese, mixed nuts and green capsicum. An issue I usually have with Arabic food is that for me as  a foreigner, the meat is invariable overdone. Tonight, though, that is not the case as Chef has prepared a beautiful lamb kebab that has that typical grilled aroma and taste while at the same time being packed with moisture. The lamb itself is not heavily marinated but the balance comes in with the intakli that is on the plate. Intakli is Arabic bread with sundried chili paste and vegetables. Yum.

My marinated lamb
My friend's Boneless chicken with fries,
Dessert is something quite obvious at an Arabic restaurant, and I am keen to try the um ali, but surprisingly, it is not on the menu. Disappointed, I order the Halawa Bil Jibn, a  cheese pastry filled with ashta cream and drizzled with sugar syrup. I love the rose that comes through in this dessert My friend though as ordered the baked yogurt, and I love his choice. The mixed berries bring an added sourness to the dish. It is rich and creamy, best of the night.

Baked Yogurt

Kamoon serves authentic Arabic cuisine in a lovely setting. The outside dining area is definitely full of more soul than the inside, so while the weather is cool, I highly recommend you dine outside. The menu is reasonably priced considering it is a 5* hotel. The service is attentive without being overbearing and this allows for a very relaxed evening. An enjoyable evening.

The low down

Khalidiya Palace Hotel, 
Abu Dhabi
972 657 0111

Average cost per person excl drinks
130-200 AED