We took a trip to unCOVEr What’s On at Abu Dhabi’s new beach club…

There’s a new beachfront leisure destination on the western end of Abu Dhabi’s Corniche.

You’ll find West Bay Abu Dhabi opposite the Sheraton, and within the beach club grounds there’s a gym and pool that are already open, a kids club that’s following soon and a brand new diner with dreamy uninterrupted sea views.

The Cove at West Bay.

You’d be forgiven for confusing it with the recently launched Cove Beach Makers District on Al Reem Island, but these are two distinct destinations and we’ll just have to accept that there’s going to be a few intense conversations with taxi drivers on this subject for the next short while.

The Cove at West Bay is an undeniably handsome venue. A sparkling example of the recent trend in coastal bohemian hangouts. The beach is arranged with luxuriant day beds, there are hammocks, and the lamps in the main restaurant area hang from basket-weave shades, gently buffeted by onshore breeze.

West Bay views are a big win too, across the calm Corniche waters the instantly recognisable arch of the Fairmont Marina Abu Dhabi is clearly visible.

The kitchen offers a genuinely impressive diversity of cuisine, with sushi and nigiri, salads, pasta, soup, seafood, grilled meat and more all available to order. We’re here for an early lunch so we order a selection of light(ish) bites including beef tenderloin skewers, mussels marinara, and pan-seared salmon with an Asian marinade.

Pairing salmon with tabouleh is a bold and, as it turns out, intelligent move. The chopped parsley lends a level of freshness to the mouthfuls. The fish is cooked cleanly, and although the aromatic Asian sauce accompanying it is laid on a little too thickly for our preference, it has that deep, sticky, sweet, umami flavour that we’ll often randomly develop a midweek craving for.

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The beef skewers are served with roasted potatoes and a thyme jus, and we confess we have some issues here. There was no enquiry about the degree of cuisson when our orders were taken, and when it arrived, the tenderloin was overcooked, and the meat — tough. The thyme jus is a nice little redemptive twist, however.

It’s a shame there was no option to enjoy the menu’s mussels with a traditional marinières sauce. But the chef’s marinara is a perfectly acceptable, well-executed, Mediterranean substitute. Except for the ambush of sultanas, of which (for us) there was genuinely no need.

Verdict: We can’t help feeling that perhaps they’re trying to do too much at The Cove at West Bay. The menu is huge and possibly too varied for such a young restaurant to deliver effectively. It’s a beautiful venue, and the food we tried was a long way from bad, but at the not-insignificant-price-tag of the dishes, it needs to be better to get top marks. B-

West Bay, West Corniche Rd, Sun to Thu midday to 1am, Fri and Sat 9am to 1am. Tel: (02) 692 4375, @westbayabudhabi

Images: Provided