Rumour has it Abu Dhabi will be home to four Peruvian restaurants by the end of 2017. That’s no mean feat when you consider the first, Limo, only opened at the start of the year in new hotel Bab Al Qasr, just off the Corniche.
Limo is hoping to stand out from the crowd with a rather unique USP – it has no menu. Instead, diners choose from starters, mains and desserts served on a trolley.
Get ready to be confused when you first walk in, because it doesn’t look like a South American restaurant; it looks like an upmarket steakhouse and we have a feeling that perhaps the concept was changed at the last minute. In the middle of Limo is a huge pillar. It’s so big, you can’t help but see it regardless of where you look and it makes the outlet feel cold and impersonal. Even the waiters can’t simply glance over to see if your drinks need refilling. The other touches – smooth, wooden chairs, blown glass on the walls, a fancy bar – again all scream steakhouse. A half-hearted attempt to add Peruvian charm comes in the form of some cute fake cactus in brightly coloured plant pots on the tables, but it feels like an afterthought.
The menu is less muddled, but certainly unique. The chef is from Peru and it’s split into three categories: cold (starters), hot (mains) and sweet (desserts).
The seafood ceviche is a good place to start. Beautifully presented octopus and prawns worked well with some cancha (toasted corn) that gave a satisfying crunch to the dish. Peruvian cuisine is in parts influenced by Japan, and those flavours were apparent here. Another starter of tiradito (sliced scallops with tomatoes, onion and burnt avocados) was fresh, citrusy, yet savoury and a real hit.
For main, the kobe beef skewers on Peruvian mash potatoes were simple, well executed but didn’t send taste buds into a tizz, but do try one of the strangest dishes you’ll ever eat in Abu Dhabi – the Pizza Limo. It’s a liquid pizza, served in a Martini glass. Yes, it sounds like baby food but the rich cheese foam worked surprisingly well with the bread crumbs and tomato bolognaise. A good option for veggies is the creamy quinoa with mushrooms – all the flavours worked well together.
For dessert, What’s On found the cacao mousse incredibly bitter, even with a side of passion fruit sauce, while the oysters (made with lychees) were a non-event, served with a sauce that reminded us of custard you’d get from the school canteen.
One thing that did wow us was the service. Our waitress was one of the best we’ve encountered in the capital – she knew every detail of a very complex menu.
Limo is a bit of an oddball – the decor is confusing, some dishes delivered while some fell flat, but the food on offer is certainly unique. And for that reason alone, we recommend you pop down to explore its quirky selection of dishes.
Bab Al Qasr Hotel, Al Khubeirah, Abu Dhabi, daily 5pm to 1am. Tel: (02) 2053003. Taxi: Bab Al Qasr, next to Etihad Towers. millenniumhotels.com
Atmosphere: Party, Smart, Romantic
Price: Dhs250 to Dhs749