REVIEW: Abu Dhabi Mall’s got a brand new restaurant and it’s not the only new one. Turkish and Italian are the latest international flavours to hit the mall that is synonymous with great retail brands, dynamic entertainment spots and a host of dining options.
Today, Team Yalla is focusing on the latest branch of Vapiano, which opened last week in the Mall and has several branches across Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
The latest Vapiano bears all the hallmarks associated with this brand. Long, wooden tables paired with a mix of low and high back wooden benches fill a welcoming large, light and airy space.
This may be a mall but one wall is glass, which allows diners to overlook the busy streets of the Tourist Club area of the city, a great view for those who enjoy all the action of busy city life.
That said, we wager you’ll only have eyes for the dishes set down in front of you and nothing else.
The tech-savvy approach to ordering your dishes involves the use of plastic cards (not the credit kind). It’s easier than it sounds and there’s always a waiter on hand to help.
Just choose what you want from the menu, head over to the different stations, place your card on an electronic reader and let the chefs get cooking. You’ll get to choose the ingredients, sauces and even the pasta type you desire.
The approach is a great way to get the kids involved with the skill or ordering in restaurants. They’ll also love the kids’ menu that dishes up pizza in the shape of a bunny and areoplane-shaped pasta
Team Yalla order Bruschetta, Gamberetti with Spinaci, Al Funghi Risotto, Calzone and a rather colouful Strawberry Spinach Salad.
First is Bruschetta. Two generous slices of ciabatta bread are topped with a delightfully fresh, chilled tomatoes marinated in olive oil, garlic and basil present a prelude to the freshness of the subsequent dishes.
The The Al Funghi Risotto is al dente as should be. The sweetness from the onions and earthy flavour of the mushrooms merge with the Grana Padano cheese, a staple from the Po river Valley in northern Italy, to deliver a spectacular tasting dish that defies the description of just being ‘creamy’ in taste.
The flavours in the Gamberetti with Spinaci also deliver. From the 10 types of pasta, we choose, on recommendation, Campenelle. The portion size is huge but remember, it is for sharing and you can also take any leftovers home. We did.
Like so many pasta dishes that include cream, there’s always the danger that it could be heavy tasting. Team Yalla can attest that in fact, the Gamberetti with Spinaci is a rather light dish filled with generous size prawns, cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, basil pesto, pine nuts, cream and Grana Padano. No one flavour overpowered, instead they were working together for a pleasant surprise. Compliments to the chef, we say.
Calzonis are always a delight and this one is no different. Cut into while piping hot so the steam is released and yields an aroma of different flavours. Again, it’s a generous size pizza pie so do take this into considering when you are filling up your electronic order tab.
Eat your greens, Mums always demand. The Strawberry Spinach Salad delivers on that demand and adds an array of other bright colours. It’s certainly filled with vitamins and is so pretty that the old cliché of ‘it looks good to eat’ works well here. Team Yalla, of course, tuck in, and the freshness and crispness perfectly complemented our order.
The deserts beckon and despite we have had our fill of mains, we order Death By Chocolat, a chocolate cake covered in a glossy and rich-tasting ganache and Crema di Fragola, marsacrpone, cream and strawberries. Double espressos are the perfect end to a splendid lunchtime.
Vapiano, Level 3, Abu Dhabi Mall. To find out more, visit Vapiano Abu Dhabi