High-end Chinese fare in the UAE capital
July 12, 2014
When it comes to location, the Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi has lucked in. Perched on banks of the canal that separates Abu Dhabi Island from the mainland, and easily accessible, but its real strength is its proximity to the iconic Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
Li Jiang – the hotel’s signature Asian restaurant – takes full advantage of this with great nighttime views over to the beautifully lit Mosque. Make sure your table has that view.
Channelled down a polished hardwood floor, along a corridor lined with a double rack of wine bottles, the sizzling sound of the wok chef at his trade welcomes you and is immediately reminiscent of a traditional South East Asian ‘one wok kitchen’.
Although not full, there was a good crowd centred around the busy central kitchen and the hum of conversation from around the room was absorbed by the attractive wall hangings of what seemed to be variegated bolts of cloth in reddish hues. The only jarring note, was the aimless techno music that played throughout the evening.
After negotiating the comprehensive menu, we pulled for the almond prawn balls (with chopped coriander and roasted almonds) with lemon sauce and the chew yim Calamari – crisply fried fresh calamari pieces in a peppery batter – as a fiery start to proceedings.
The main courses of wonton dumpling soup with noodles and Malaysian favourite, curry laksa, were both of the highest order. The wonton perfectly pre-fried, and matched with an excellent accompanying broth with shitaki mushrooms and baby kailan. As it should be, the curry laksa was hot and spicy. The blend of coconut with the curry leaves giving the broth the perfect amount of spiciness.
To round it off, desserts of succulent mango tatin with matcha tea ice cream, and a lemongrass crème bruleé with mango compote were a perfect balance to the noodle-based mains.
If you ask nicely, the chef will demonstrate just how finely he can make noodles with his bare hands.
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Details: Daily, 7pm to 12am, Ritz-Carlton, Abu Dhabi. Visit Ritzcarlton.com