Average all-day dining venue at Aloft Abu Dhabi... Discuss this article
Chill out with friends and kick-start the weekend with an all-you-can-eat barbecue deal. You’ll find an international buffet, live tandoori and barbecue stations, salads, soups and desserts, alongside live music and free-flowing house beverages. Dhs135++ (soft drinks), Dhs199++ (house beverages). Timings: 7pm-11pm (Thursday)
The all-day dining venue has it easy in most respects – people don’t come here expecting Périgord truffles or foie gras, just a satisfying meal, good service and a bill that reflects the fact you’re not paying fine-dining prices. Mai Café is Aloft Hotel’s latest pool-side dining outlet, open morning to evening for snacks, lunch and dinner and turning (as many rooftop, bean bag-style venues across the city tend to) into a DJ-playing ‘chill-out lounge’ at night. Cosy corner couches with plump cushions offer a view of the pool which, although not offensive, doesn’t quite have the same appeal as the stunning panoramic vista offered by the hotel’s rooftop club, Relax@12 (we can’t help feeling they’re missing a trick here).
Still, having glanced over the menu there’s some immediate plus points – a good selection of international classics, Arabic hot and cold mezze, sandwiches and wraps, grills and popular pub-style fare like fish and chips – certainly enough choice for families with fussy kids. Drinks delivered and decisions made, we waited for our waiter to return to take our order… and waited, and waited. Bread rolls devoured, we eventually had to wave to get the waiters attention; no excuses really – apart from a couple of older gents nursing a pint at the bar, we were the only patrons in the place.
As fans of Japanese food, we opted for the seared salmon sashimi salad, which (eventually) arrived drenched in balsamic and miso dressing. Yes it was tasty, and there was a substantial sprinkling of plump soybean pods, but the part-cooked salmon (what little there was of it) was left swimming in the dressing, which overpowered every other ingredient on the plate.
Other main dishes of homemade burger and fries and murgh makhani were equally disappointing: while one arrived sporting a slice of what appeared to be ‘packet’ cheese, the other was as inspired as its TV dinner equivalent. The overuse of salt in the curry and a burger with a side of what could have been McCain oven chips were definite negatives; generous portion size was the only plus. This may be a bit unfair (taking into account that this is in fact a ‘pit-stop’ poolside venue), but the café’s pledge to offer ‘fresh healthy bites and all-time classics’ seems a little stretched given the quality of some of its dishes.
For hotel guests with hungry kids who’ve worked up an appetite in the pool, Mai Café is a handy (and comfy) spot to grab lunch, but, given its suburb location, inner-city dwellers are unlikely to make the trip for what is essentially fancy fast-food.
Bill (for three)
Aloft beef burger Dhs52
Murgh makhani Dhs62
Salmon sashimi salad Dhs52
Diet Coke Dhs13
Sparkling water x 2 Dhs32
(Plus 16 per cent) Dhs33
Time Out Abu Dhabi,
Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.