17 of the best desserts to enjoy in Abu Dhabi right now
Grab a spoon, and tuck on in…
Get ready to dig into some of the most decadent, indulgent, beautiful, and drool-worthy desserts in Abu Dhabi.
ALL ABOUT THE CHOCOLATE
1. Fondant aux chocolat
When a rich, deeply chocolatey fondant is done right it’s hard to beat, and we think Raclette – kings of the melt – offers one of the best. Its piping hot fondant aux chocolat (Dhs60) is served with a lick of raspberry coulis and topped with sweet vanilla ice cream, a crisp hazelnut croquant and torched meringue.
2. Praline mousse
Where: Coya Abu Dhabi
With eight glorious options on Coya’s a la carte dessert menu, picking the best from a great bunch is hard – yet its praline de mousse (Dhs68) is anything but. In fact, it’s a silky smooth, rich chocolate mousse, with praline, verbena, and a nostalgic white chocolate ice cream. Dreamy and decadent.
3. Souffle cookie
Chef Hugo’s outdone himself with an exciting summer dessert menu, the highlight being this part souffle, part cookie beast (Dhs90). Using 72 per cent chocolate from Venezuelan origin and a pistachio parfait, it’s ultra-indulgent, and ultra-naughty.
4. Oreo cheesecake & brownie mess
What happens when you blend a cheesecake with a brownie? You make an almighty, calorific plate of goodness. Order yours from Central and expect a whopper of a dish with Orea biscuits, baked cheesecake, fudgy chocolate brownie, chocolate sauce, and Orea ice cream on the side (Dhs55).
5. Chocolate fondant
Slightly more unusual than a regular chocolate lava cake is this fruitier option from South American stalwart Vakava at Conrad Etihad Towers. Its chocolate fondant (Dhs55) oozes with melted goodness and is served with vanilla ice cream with an orange reduction and added seasonal fruits. Picture perfect and delicious, too.
Where: The Lighthouse, Yas Bay
This lovely dish is everything a great dessert should be: creamy and crunchy, sweet but not cloying, approachable yet decidedly more complex than it looks, and the mille-feuille (Dhs45) at The Lighthouse smashes it out the park (bay?). Layers of homemade pâte feuilletée (that’s fancy French for puff pastry) and vanilla custard are topped with mascarpone cream and garnished with powdered sugar and vanilla pods. Delicate yet delicious.
7. Apple tart
Here’s a tip when you visit Fouquet’s, the What’s On Award-winning French restaurant at Louvre Abu Dhabi: order dessert first. The tarte aux pomme (Dhs120) takes 40 minutes to prepare but, boy, is it worth the wait. This thinly layered, freshly baked treat is served with whipped cream spiced with cinnamon and glazed with lemon caramel.
8. Pistachio bombolini
Where: Cipriani Dolci
The Cipriani brand needs little in the way of introduction. The gourmet Italian power-dining powerhouse began in 1931 and in the 90 years since, Cipriani has developed into an international hospitality brand with venues around the world. One of its latest offshoots is Cipriani Dolci, a celebration of traditional Italian pasticcerias – glossy walnut by décor with swish service from waiters in white uniforms. Cipriani Dolci has opened its third branch in Abu Dhabi’s Marina Mall. Diners will discover a menu of Cipriani classics, but it’s the glorious range of desserts and pastries. After many mouthfuls of the pistachio bombolini – enjoyed in the Dubai Mall outpost – we can say, without hesitation, that it is absolutely sensational.
9. Mango sticky rice
Ah, the mango sticky rice. A Thai speciality that’s the perfect mix of complementary textures and flavours, with the sweet, ripe mango adding a juicy fruitiness to coconut milk-soaked sticky rice. We love The St Regis Saadiyat Island’s version at Sontaya (Dhs55), which promises all this in abundance with some added pandan sauce.
10. Kunafa kheshna
Where: Hanon Feras Sweets & Restaurant
Phyllo dough, cheese, pistachios, and rosewater syrup combine in this beautiful dessert that’s beloved in the Middle East, particularly by Palestinians. Order an enormous 4kg platter of it for Dhs300 from legendary confectioners Hanon Feras Sweets and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
11. New York cheesecake
Where: Butcher & Still
A real slice of New York cheesecake is smooth and sweet and ever-so-slightly tart and simply made: Cream cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla, heavy or sour cream. Our favourite version in the city is at Four Seasons’ steakhouse Butcher & Still. It’s a creamy, fluffy, berry-covered delight.
12. Sticky toffee date pudding
Where: The Oak Room
Forget counting calories with this wedge of wonder. Tom Aikens’ sticky toffee date pudding is loaded with light and dark sugar, together with salt, dates and butter before you even get near the clotted cream on the side. It is heavy and rich – possibly to die for.
What’s On has tried many tiramisus in Abu Dhabi in the name of journalism, but none come close to bettering Antonia’s bowl of perfection (Dhs55). Slide your spoon passed the cacao nibs and inside you’ll find the perfect ratio of espresso, mascarpone cheese and Savoiardi ladyfinger biscuits.
EXTRA ABU DHABI
14. Swanky pastries
Where: L’Éclair de Génie
Inspired by a vintage circus tent, the first UAE branch of the Parisian pastry wonderland serves up creative sweet treats that almost looks too perfect and posh to eat. This includes Abu Dhabi exclusives such as gold date eclairs (of course) and the mesmerising hot chocolate ball, a sensational creation that sees a 60 per cent chocolate sphere melt into a rich and creamy winter warmer, right in front of your eyes.
15. Gold leaf ice cream
Where: Emirates Palace
If there’s ever a time to enjoy a gold leaf ice cream, it would be at Emirates Palace – the epitome of gilded glamour. And that theme continues throughout some of its restaurant’s menus, such as Le Cafe, where gold features in the most unlikely places, including its 23K gold-topped ice cream.
16. Cup Cake ATM
Where: Marsana, Hudayriyat Island
This is exactly what it sounds like – a luxe vending machine that gives you access to Instalicious muffins, 24-hours a day. The ATM, located on adventure playground Hudayriyat Island, has a long list of cupcake varieties to deposit straight into your face. The pistachio and nutella cake definitely has some big UAE energy, but you can also choose Oreo, saffron, lotus, blueberry, red velvet and carrot among others. Prices start from Dhs19.
17. Dining – and dessert –in the dark
Where: Fresh-Basil Dining in the Dark
How do you stand out from the crowd in a city so obsessed with luxury restaurants? You switch off the lights and give them nothing to admire at all. The first dining-in-the-dark concept in Abu Dhabi is certainly an experience to remember, and while the menu can be adjusted to suit all tastes, you won’t actually find out what you’ve eaten until the very end. Even the staff have to wear night-vision goggles to ensure that they don’t mistake your lap for the table.