Great food, great setting, unfortunate service 17 Reviews
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The night we visited Abdel Wahab, the Lebanese restaurant at Souk Qaryat al Beri, it was still a little on the chilly side, but we couldn’t resist sitting outside for the picturesque view of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque across Maqta Creek.
There always seems to be a healthy mix of people dining at Abdel Wahab, and this mid-week evening was no different. The restaurant was surprisingly full with a mix of locals, ex-pats and business types staying at the Shangri-La next door.
Knowing that to attempt a starter-main-dessert order of business was an exercise in futility, we dived straight in and ordered a bevy of cold and hot ‘starters’ and one item from the grill. The hummus was a nice creamy consistency and the flavours were well balanced. While kebbeh nayeh – an Arabic version of steak tartar made with raw lamb, spices and wheat – is not for everybody, the version served here is excellent and definitely worth trying if you haven’t before.
The stand-out dish for us was without a doubt the chicken livers, which are served piping hot from the pan, perfectly cooked (with not one over-done, powdery tasting morsel on the plate) in a tart, more-ish sauce made with pomegranate molasses and lemon juice that had us wiping the dish clean with fresh and fluffy bread still warm and puffed up from the oven.
Aside from the service, which we’ll come to shortly, the only disappointments were the tabbouleh – which was somehow dry – and the spinach fatayer – little parcels of spinach and pine nuts wrapped in pastry that were delicious, but luke-warm and had clearly not been freshly heated.
From the grill we ordered the shish taouk, chunks of chicken breast skewered and grilled into submission. The chicken was tender with a lovely sear on each piece and came with fries and that garlic dip that no one is ever entirely sure the ingredients of. the dish is very well executed, but we often find that the mezze or starters at an Arabic restaurant are always so flavoursome and delicious that the grills are usually a tad on the superfluous and disappointing side, no matter how good they are.
Finally, a note on the service. We’d like to begin by saying that we are fans of Abdel Wahab and visit regularly. Usually the service is perfectly acceptable, neither intrusive nor absent and always extremely friendly and helpful. On our most recent visit, the same could be said right up until the very end of the meal. A large-ish party was seated next to us and that seemed to distract the staff rather more than it should have. We had to ask three times in 15 minutes for our table to be cleared of the empty plates and dishes and had to give up on the idea of ordering dessert for fear of waiting an inordinate amount of time for it.
The bill (for two)
Kebbeh nayeh Dhs35
Chicken livers Dhs28
Shish taouk Dhs48
Total (excluding service) Dhs179
Time Out Abu Dhabi,
- Previous reviews
- 26 March,2013- reviewed by Time Out Abu Dhabi staff
- 31 October,2012- reviewed by Time Out staff
- 11 August,2011- reviewed by Time Out Abu Dhabi staff
- 26 July,2011- reviewed by Time Out Abu Dhabi staff
- 29 March,2010- reviewed by Jon Wilks
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