Stills Bar & Brasserie
Yas Island-based pub grub with a touch of style on the side 8 Reviews
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They say size isn’t everything, but with the longest bar in Abu Dhabi (a stately 26m, no less) Stills is clearly giving it a go, puffing out its chest like some proud, indignant peacock. Certainly, the giant Victorian mirrors provide plenty of preening possibilities. The red brick and black leather interior has a kind of slick Manhattan wine bar feel to it and the centrepiece is the towering set of stills (geddit?) behind the bar. Admittedly, they don’t brew anything here (we’d love to see the paperwork to make that a reality!), but the look is certainly dramatic.
The menu is pure pub grub with pretensions; a steady collection of old-fashioned faves lifted up by their bootstraps, tarted up with rock salt and slapped down with an artist’s eye. Most dishes arrive with a strange lattice of a half-dozen chips or asparagus, interlocked like some mad culinary game of Jenga. There’s no real point to it, but you can forgive Stills its odd peculiarity because the quality is, on the whole, very good.
The fish and chips (which we’ve tried before) consists of two large spears of flaky, delicious cod in a light batter and the steak and ale pie boasts a rich, thick meaty gravy in which swim large, soft chunks of beef. If they can sort out the ‘exploding pastry’ problem (we were still finding bits on our jeans the day after), they’ll have a monster on their hands. For vegetarians, the Portobello ciabatta arrives like some gigantic fungal submarine, packed with flavours and aforementioned portobellos. We had a few issues with the pinkyness of our chicken schnitzel, but the taste was good.
There is little food-wise that doesn’t pass muster at Stills and the prices are pretty standard for the city. The greatest test is simply the location on Yas Island. The adjacent positioning of hotels still makes it look a bit like an industrial estate and it remains to be seen how well the island will fare in luring islanders out from their cosy regular haunts. We went mid-week and found it surprisingly full, but the large proliferation of men in suits suggested a convention might have been in town (possibly a suit convention). Nevertheless, this is bar-restaurant that definitely benefits from a bit of bustle. Just how much it will receive remains to be seen. The drinks are reasonably priced (for the UAE), the food is good and if they can just keep up the numbers, this has the makings of a great local. It’s just a shame that it’s not a bit more local.
The bill (for three)
Steak & ale pie Dhs70
Chicken schnitzel Dhs70
Portobello ciabatta Dhs65
Total (incl 16 per cent) Dhs334
Time Out Abu Dhabi,
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