The Brit cafe opens its first branch in the capital.

Much of the talk about Al Maryah Island at the moment is focused on Al Maryah Central, the new shopping mall that will open at the end of this year. But that hasn’t stopped The Galleria mall next to it from expanding. It’s still opening restaurants, all of which now fall under the title of The Dining Collection, and the latest to open is cake and pastry experts L’ETO.

It’s a brand born in London’s Soho and there are several branches in Dubai. It’s a civilised location, with a white marble interior, library books lining the walls, Swarovski crystal green chandeliers and some greenery.

While known for its cakes, L’ETO also serves mains and salads. Most of the dishes are on display at a huge counter, and when it comes to giving out points for presentation, L’ETO scores highly. You’ll want to try most of the grub on show.

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L’ETO serves a selection of dishes on an a la carte menu, and there’s also a separate menu for the items on display in the counters, which the restaurant tweaks from time to time.

A salad of wild rice with zaatar glazed beef, cranberries and pumpkin seeds was a promising start to proceedings. Just a little bit salty, it was refreshing and light, and the zaatar didn’t overwhelm. The two-colour beetroot salad with asparagus and kale and goji berries was more simple in presentation and taste, but also worked well.

The winner, though, was a honey-roasted pumpkin, bulger and crispy kale salad. The pumpkin bossed this dish but didn’t push aside the other flavours.

For mains the miso-glazed chicken breast with crispy kale (they are big fans of the healthy green at L’ETO) also delivered. The meat was moist and tender and the glaze subtle, while a mouthful with the crunch of the kale elevated it to another level. An oyster mushroom quiche was satisfactory although simply ordinary.

For dessert, a dulche de leche nougat cake was creamy, nutty and a hit, as was a blueberry and lime cheesecake. The fruity filling was a little bit special and the cheese was smooth and not sickly sweet.

What’s On visited L’ETO on its third day of business and the place was packed, but there’s plenty of good reasons for that. The menu offers unique dishes that are tasty, too.

The Galleria, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, daily 9am to midnight. Tel: (02) 441 3318.

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