Bam Bu

Cheap but not so cheerful Chinese cuisine at the Abu Dhabi Marine & Yacht Club Reviews

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Oh dear. Before we start it’s only fair to point out that we have all the sympathy in the world for the myriad of Chinese restaurants in the city. With so much competition out there it’s tough to stay ahead of the game and keep your name up there with the very best. In that sense Bam Bu have an awful lot of work to do.

First of all the location of Bam Bu does it no favours whatsoever. The Abu Dhabi Marina & Yacht Club looks like a long forgotten movie set. There’s a pool that hasn’t been cleaned in goodness knows how long and everything just feels a bit grubby. After a few wrong turns we eventually stumbled upon Bam Bu right at the back of the club. The automatic sliding doors that lead you into a walkway on the way to the restaurant itself were fun and raised a giggle. So far, so good. Then we ordered the food.

First up was the soups. The chicken and sweetcorn was probably one of the worst to ever cross our lips. It lacked any real flavour and was actually pretty difficult to swallow. The chicken and prawn wanton fared little better with decidedly artificial tasting mushrooms overpowering the whole dish. The starters were underwhelming to say the least. Onwards and upwards we thought. Bring on the mains. Playing it safe we opted for the classic crispy chilli beef with noodles and the garlic and chilli prawns with steamed rice. What could go wrong? Well...

We almost felt sorry for the beef when it arrived, it was so limp and pathetic looking. Rather than eat it we contemplated burying it to put it out of its misery. As for the chilli, we think it may well have done a runner before the plate was served because it was absent to these tastebuds. All in all, the dish was absolutely bereft of any kick. The beef itself was so chewy we’re still picking it out of our teeth as we type this. Even the noodles had a strange oily texture.

Unfortunately the prawns didn’t go down particularly well either. They were greasy, sticky and far too sweet. Rather than being plump, tender and juicy they practically crunched with every bite. The veg that accompanied the dish had seen better days too. It’s not often that you get onions and peppers that leave a bitter aftertaste. The rice was okay, we suppose, but the whole thing was a very disappointing, albeit inexpensive, experience.

We should give one special mention to the waiting staff though, who were very understanding when we accidentally knocked over a whole pot of soy sauce. Overall the dining experience left a lot to be desired, not to mention a pretty nasty taste in the mouth. Bam Bu have some serious competition in this city and if they want to continue they’d need to do a great deal better than this. Better luck next time.

The bill (for two)
Wanton soup Dhs18
Chicken and sweetcorn soup Dhs17
Crispy chilli beef Dhs37
Garlic and chilli prawns Dhs48
Total (excluding service) Dhs120

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff
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.


  • Location: Al Zahiyah, Abu Dhabi
  • Tel: 02 645 6373
  • Travel: Abu Dhabi Marina & Yacht Club

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User reviews

  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Family friendly

User reviews:

Posted by: Frances on 01 Sep ' 12 at 12:40
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Loved this place! My husband has been here several times including a few years ago and he said it has come a long way as far as service and decor. The place was expanded and remodeled.
I went with my two kids and my husband for dinner the other night and it was amazing. Everyone was so attentive. The food was great and just kept coming! It's all you can eat and drink for 170AED. They have a wide variety of foods to choose from on their menu.
Also, they serve pork!!

Posted by: viktoria johnson on 08 Jul ' 11 at 07:27
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

This restaurant has gone so far down hill it is unbelievable. We have always enjoyed coming here but now will never go again. The name change gives it away. Portofino! A chinese restaurant wiith an Italian name. The food is exactly as it always has been the menus are the same but the name is crossed out in black marker pen.
There is no view the marina is closed and the outlook is now a fence. The chairs are mis matched some being plastic pool chairs.
Last night there iwas a group of about 50 playing a trivia game with someone wittering away on a microphone that was unintelligable. So much for ambiance.
The beer was so hot they were putting ice in it and the food we ordered was substituted for something else because they had run out but didn't bother to tell us.
Smoky, noisy and hot this restaurant is on its last legs. Don't bother going with all the new hotels opening in town there are much better choices.

Posted by: simon fletcher on 24 Jun ' 10 at 08:24
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Never had a problem with the food or service so very surprised about the above comments.

Posted by: Karen Witt on 05 Feb ' 09 at 13:07
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Last week we went to Bambu for dinner. We had a group of seven people- 3 white couples and one Indian single male friend of ours.
Much to our shock, the waitress gave menus only to the white males at the table!!! The 3 women and our single male Indian friend were treated as if we were retarded children. It was shameful. I am asking everyone to boycott this restaurant , and let them know why, until they change their sexist/ racist attitudes.Thanks!

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