Thursday, February 27, 2014

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Peppermill at Eastern Mangroves, Abu Dhabi

Posted at  1:31 AM  |  in  Restaurant

Eastern Mangroves Promenade has been designed to resemble a traditional souk-style avenueWith a continuous stream of new restaurant openings in Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s fine dining landscape seems to be undergoing a complete transformation.

This revolution is not only taking place in the capital’s more established downtown neighbourhoods, but also in exciting new developments such as Yas Marina, Al Bandar and Eastern Mangroves Promenade. There’s a reason why people are flocking to these up-and-coming areas… they’re more scenic, open spaced and alluring!

During our first visit to Eastern Mangroves Promenade last week, AroundTheUAE.com headed straight to Peppermill, the area’s flagship Indian restaurant. The promenade itself is a visual treat and has been designed to resemble a traditional souk-style avenue. In addition to Peppermill, other restaurants such as Carluccios, Boa Steakhouse and Flooka are located within an arch-fronted open colonnade, overlooking the lush green mangroves and azure waters of the Arabian Gulf, as well as a 30-berth marina.

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It's certainly a feast for the eyes… and an ideal prelude before indulging in a feast for our stomachs! Peppermill is marketed as a “colonial Indian dining concept that contemporises the traditional cuisines from different parts of India”. The spacious interiors have clearly been influenced by this theme, boasting of colourful designs that are traditionally Indian, yet with a contemporary touch. There’s enough space to accommodate up to 100 patrons at a time, we’re told, including private dining rooms.

Peppermill's interiors have colourful designs that are traditionally Indian, yet with a contemporary touchThe menu features a selection of Neo-Indian style dishes from the colonial era, when European cooking styles were brought to subcontinent. Peppermill’s chefs apparently spent months choosing the best ingredients and spice combinations to reflect this historical period. Now that’s dedication!

For starters, we tried the Murgh Chaap (chicken marinated in crumbed masala deep fried and served with mint chutney) and Karare Palak Chaat (batter fried fresh spinach topped with mint, tamarind chutney and yoghurt). The latter was actually one of the chef’s specials and comes highly recommended – the crispy texture and burst of different flavours make the snack-sized chaats very moreish.

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There are 16 varieties of kebabs to choose from at Peppermill, including lamb, chicken and vegetarian options. We went for the Kakori Kebabs, made from lamb that has been minced several times over, blended with exotic spices and herbs, hand rolled over iron skewers, and slow cooked in a clay oven. The end result is succulent and melts in the mouth. You can clearly taste the freshness of ingredients and traditional spices.

Peppermill at Eastern Mangroves is a welcome addition to the range of Indian restaurants in Abu Dhabi
Next, we decided to try something new and ordered the Murgh Goan Vindaloo (a spicy chicken dish made with potatoes, garlic and a hint of malt vinegar, simmered in rich tomato gravy) and Shahi Aloo Gobi (potato and cauliflower florets tossed with tomatoes, onions and cumin seeds, finished with fresh grated ginger and coriander), accompanied by plain and garlic naans. We would describe the first dish as an acquired taste, while the Shahi Aloo Gobi was impressive and soon wiped clean from our plates!

Despite our full stomachs at this stage, there’s always room for dessert, and we opted for the chef’s special once again – Shahi Tukda (toasted brioche caramelised and served with pistachio kulfi, drizzled with saffron sauce and topped with a biscotti). Now, we admit to having a sweet tooth, which could mean we’re biased, but this was the perfect way to finish our meal and actually ended up being a highlight of the visit.

All-in-all, we give Peppermill at Eastern Mangroves our thumbs up and it's a welcome addition to the diverse range of Indian restaurants in the UAE capital. It has already accumulated a score of 4.5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor.com, ranking 120 of 1,555 restaurants in Abu Dhabi (at the time of publishing this review).

Quite impressive, considering it’s only a few months old!  Eastern Mangroves is actually the brand’s third outlet, with sister branches in Abu Dhabi’s Al Wahda Mall and Dubai’s Al Barsha district, and judging by their success, we’re sure there’s more on the way!

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5 comments:

  1. Will be there next month and will check it out!

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  2. One of our favourites! Yummy food!

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  3. Yes its nice, but very overpriced.

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  4. The food is fantastic here!

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  5. I've tried Peppermill, terrible food.

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