Review: Breakfast at Medi Terra, Abu Dhabi's new Mediterranean cafe
The latest addition to the bustling cafe district of Al Bateen…
There’s a seasonal breeze in the Mediterranean known as the Mistral. Strongest in autumn and spring, the wind brings a welcome freshness to towns along the coast, chasing clouds from the Provencal sky.
This spring, a warm Mediterranean breeze blew across a stretch of Abu Dhabi’s own Riviera —at Marsa Al Bateen Marina, bringing with it a breath of fresh European air. Medi Terra, opened up back in April of this year, in what is fast becoming Abu Dhabi’s go-to cafe district.
We’re at the restaurant to investigate its credentials as a scenic new breakfast spot. It’s also a meal that the Medi Terra serves all day — a level of laidback that most Europeans would applaud. Whilst we’re having our traditional nose around the gloriously green perimeter, we uncover three separate staging areas. There’s an alfresco terrace; a cute covered little Niçois-esque terrace; and a neatly arranged interior.
We take a table inside the covered terrace, which comes with the advantage of climate control surrounds without having to sacrifice those marina views. Before we’ve had a chance to pick out which of the adjacent moored yachts we’d swoop in and gazump following a big Mahzooz win, our server has already managed to offer recommendations and take our order.
Our plates all arrive at the same time, and we’ve over-ordered to ensure that we’re experiencing both the sweet and savoury sides of the menu. Entirely for your benefit dear reader, and nothing to do with our incurable gluttony.
Starting with one of the restaurant’s signature AM dishes, the truffle egg Benedict (Dhs59) — like the restaurant it has emerged from, is a very handsome plate of food. The poach is perfect, the garnish is pleasingly presented (a dressed salad which is perhaps slightly odd for a breakfast dish, but perfectly acceptable as brunch), and the disc of cured turkey ham that snuggles into a cosy concentric fit with the muffin it sits on top of.
And it tastes pleasant enough too. All those flavours you’d expect from an eggs Benny — swaggering fungi-yolky umami, refreshing tartness via the vector of hollandaise. We only mark this down because we wanted to be surprised, we wanted that big open-handed slap around the face that truffle often provides… but it never came. For us, its presence was too subtle.
The avocado toast (Dhs49) has some really strong elements too. The earthy tones of the sourdough bread alone are a huge win for the Abu Dhabi brekkie scene. And we understand what the intention is with the piquillo pepper marmalade, but for us the sweet-citrus helix cuts out some of the enjoyment of the avocado.
Our pace slows a little as we tackle the blueberry pancake mountain. It’s a generous stack, but as intrepid gastronauts, we push on. It’s a rewarding endeavour, the pancakes have that real American diner feel to them, syrupy and fluffy in all the right places and the berry compote has been cleverly balanced.
Verdict — we can only speak with authority on how Medi Terra performs as a breakfast hook-up, but we can confirm it does it well. Most of the fault we found came down to personal preference, the service was excellent and the scenery a perfect foil for the Riviera-inspired menu.
Marsa Al Bateen Marina, midday to 11pm on weekdays, 10am to midnight on weekends. Tel: (02) 633 6366, @mediterra_ad