Five culinary hubs in one at the new W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island…
W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island opened for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year and with it Garage. The space is huge, with a wide variety of decor and food on offer. This is all-day dining done differently, a destination that manages to reflect both the diversity of the capital and its lingering obsession with food trucks.
The interior is divided into five culinary hubs, as is the menu: meat vault, Nikkei house, mezza bar and steam table. There’s also an extensive tap wall serving cocktails and mocktails, grapes, four types of hops and sparkling water. Rounding out the offerings is the Tart Van, which looks more exciting than it actually is.
The Garage menu is ideal for groups. There are such a wide variety of offerings, it’s almost like being able to order from different restaurants. As a group of four, we made sure to choose something from each part of the menu for sharing, and have it delivered as it was ready.
We were big fans of the crab cake (Dhs65), which was chock-full of crab meat and served with a zesty harissa aioli – a nice regional twist on the standard – and roasted red pepper salsa.
We added in a side order of truffle mac and cheese (Dhs25) for a little carby goodness. The portion was generous and the combination did not disappoint. Our salmon poke bowl (Dhs45, from Nikkei house) was excellent: black rice is a rarity and added an earthy, chewy touch, and the generous mix of avocado chunks, wakame, mango, pickles, baby corn and toasted cashew was freshness in a bowl, with a yuzu-orange dressing to make the whole thing pop.
Our waiter also recommended the tuna tiradito (Dhs45) from the Nikkei menu, and it was a hit too with perfectly cured yellow fin tuna, mixed with avocado, spring onions, snow peas and Peruvian corn.
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Our table jumped on the sizzling chicken liver (Dhs38) from the mezza bar. Chicken livers are kind of a rarity and if you love them, you really love them. The dish is wrapped in Arabic bread and when that is peeled away, the velvety livers underneath are encased in a rich molasses-based sauce, with the spice of the coriander shining through.
We settled on beef dumplings (Dhs28) from the steam table menu and dove into the four tender pockets filled with Wagyu beef and still-crunchy Chinese cabbage, water chestnuts and coriander.
Each part of the menu offers a handy sampler, too, if you just can’t decide what you want. For example, at the steam table, you can get 10 pieces – two of everything – for Dhs70.
The only thing that left us a bit underwhelmed was dessert. We wanted to love our s’mores and blackberry cheesecake slices from the tart van (Dhs20 each) but were uninspired. It was just a lot of pastry and not so much tart. The two stellar scoops of ice cream served alongside (vegan ginger and dulce de leche) did, however, make up for it.
Garage, W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island. Daily 6.30am to 10.30am; 12.30pm to 11pm. Tel: (02) 6560000 garageabudhabi.com