If you are looking for Argentinian restaurants in Abu Dhabi, then look no further.
PARTNER CONTENT: Anybody who’s visited The Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas on Saadiyat Island will already be aware that it is renowned for its eclectic mix of gourmet dining destinations.
And now there is a new addition, MATÉ, a gastronomic delight serving Argentinian dishes that promise to tantalise diners looking to experience classics from both north and south of the country.
Not only that, MATÉ gives a subtle nod to the Lebanese diaspora that have been part of Argentina for centuries.
The experience begins at a rather moody bar upstairs, whose South American beats instantly get you into the vibe before your host accompanies you downstairs to the restaurant.
Greeting diners at the entrance is a portrait, in pop art style, of the king of Argentinian football, Diego Maradona.
Enter the main space, separated into two main dining areas by a rather dramatic open-fire brick grill, to a low-lit space with eclectic interior design that delivers an unpretentious environment that is comfortable yet equally sophisticated.
The pop art, by talented British-Moroccan artist, DAZ, continues with portraits of Lebanese icon, Fairuz, and Argentinian legends, Evita, and Che Guevara adorning the walls. The name MATÉ is a herbal drink that is now popular in Lebanon due to the Lebanese diaspora residing in Argentina that took this idea back to their own country.
The menu bares all the hallmarks of classic Argentinian dishes, complete with a contemporary Lebanese twist.
There’s a marriage of charcoal and wood at the core of the cuisine, so be prepared for smoky and woody flavours as most of the dishes are cooked on the brick grill, with some of them made directly on charcoal embers.
The menu delivers a variety of prime cuts, fish, seafood, and vegetarian options too, all of which incorporate marinade, spices, pastes, or vegetables from Lebanon, served from the show kitchen where you get to view the skilled chefs working the traditional Argentinian El Asador to grill the meat to perfection.
Except for Wagyu, all the fine premium quality cuts are sourced from Argentina, while the fresh, organic vegetables are sourced from Lebanon.
Choose from dishes such as Yerba Maté Smoked Beef Tartare, Wood-Fire Tomato Salad with Hummus, EmberCooked Scallops with Burnt Avocado, Brocheta Lebanesa (Beef Kofta), Charcoal-Grilled Sweet Potato with Brown Butter and Cognac Flamed Wagyu Tomahawk flamed and sliced tableside to enhance the flavours.
Being fully fledged carnivores, we choose meat dishes, but not before tucking into the delightful starters recommended by Chef Mauro, the Argentinian national heading MATÉ ‘s culinary team.
The Humita, a mix of sweet corn mash, Provoleta cheese and chili all wrapped in a fresh corn husk, went down a treat and is highly recommended. Likewise, the Vieiras, ember-cooked scallops, tahini sauce, horseradish, seaweed chimichurri and burned avocado was both flavourful and moorish in equal measure.
While Argentina is all about the meat, as mentioned, there are vegetarian options too, such as Calabaza Carbonada, a mix of pumpkin Carbonada, mushrooms, corn and sweet potato. For today, though, we chose meat.
Chef Mauro delivered a superb Costillas Al Asador, 700 grams of short ribs perfectly cooked on an open fire and Lomo, 200 grams of Argentinian Black Angus Tenderloin cooked medium rare, just how we like it. Both dishes were succulent and filled with flavour, not to mention beautifully presented and served with fresh asparagus.
The dishes are filling but there is always room for desserts, which include Flan, Torta Balcarce, and not least, Tarta De Queso.
Upon the chef’s recommendation, we chose Torta Balcarce, an amazing looking dish dulce de leche, meringue caramelised walnuts and coconut ice-cream.
As the evening got later and grape sipped, the resident DJ switches it up a notch with electro tango, Mediterranean chill-out, and deep house to complete the shift from dining to a late-night venue to end the perfect dining experience we’ve had in a long time.
Open Daily – Restaurant: 6.30pm to 11pm; Lounge: 5pm to 1am (Sundays to Thursdays) and 5pm to 2am (Fridays and Saturdays). To reserve, call 02 407 1234