Stills Bar & Brasserie
Crowne Plaza’s watering hole is the second best pub on Yas Island 8 Reviews
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There’s a quiet pub-vs-pub war going on over on Yas Island. In the red corner, we have Y-Bar at Yas Rotana, the effortlessly cool TOAD award-winner with its trendy exposed brickwork and simple, perfectly executed grub. In the blue corner, just across the road, is Stills at Crowne Plaza – equally hip in appearance and a big hit with drinkers thanks to generous promotions, but never one to grab headlines for its food. With our 2011 Restaurant Awards looming, we decided it was time to find out if the challenger had made up any ground.
Stills’ menu is a biggie and covers a lot of bases, with batter-heavy classics listed alongside some imaginative vegetarian options and more adventurous fare, such as pan-fried sea bass and Belgian-style mussels by the bucket. We decided to test the waters with the duck rillette starter, and it immediately became clear that we’d set our sights too high. The toasted brioche appeared to have been pulled straight out of the fridge along with the meaty pâté, and while the spiced plum compote worked well, there simply wasn’t enough of the stuff to go around, leaving us with half a plateful of dry meat and bread.
The roasted salmon that followed was also just about average. The lack of a crispy skin aside, it wasn’t the fish itself that offended, but rather the mushroom and asparagus ragout beneath it, which was so over-salted that every attempt to remember the dish prompts a desperate glug from our water bottle.
We dumbed our ambitions down further for our dessert of sticky toffee pudding, which turned out to be the best course of the night – but not by much. As with the starter, the ratio of wet to dry components was a little askew, in this case leaving a good third of our rich, dense sponge cake without gooey butterscotch sauce to soak up – an absolute crying shame.
With everything else in place, Stills could be in with a real shot at the big time, if only it can get the execution right in the kitchen. As things stand, however, Y-Bar is still better.
The bill (for two)
Duck rillette Dhs55
Roasted salmon Dhs85
Hand cut chips Dhs20
Sticky toffee pudding Dhs30
Total (excluding service) Dhs190
Time Out Abu Dhabi,
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