Sometimes the amount of choice at buffet-style brunches can be simply bewildering.
We often find ourselves wandering around with an empty plate, looking very dazed and confused, desperately trying to work out where to start.
But brunch at Tamba is a totally different affair. There’s no scrum to get the best bits of sushi, or endless cheese and chocolate rooms to navigate.
We immediately feel relaxed as soon as soon as we take our seats out on the pleasant, wide terrace. Everything from the chilled soundtrack to the friendly staff and efficient table service encourages us to slow things down, and, for one afternoon, forget about our endless to-do lists. It’s why, as our server explains, Tamba refers to the event as a ‘lazy lunch’ rather than a brunch.
We get to try all of the five ‘bites’ and six ‘street snacks’ before choosing a main each and finishing with a desert platter.
The colourful plates arrive in a steady stream. At no point are we overwhelmed by having everything placed on the table at once, nor are we ever left waiting for our next dish.
We start off with some root vegetable chips. Even this relatively simple dish is superb, and we love the mix of spices and fresh tomatoes in the homemade chutney.
Next, it’s the spicy tuna with creamy avocado and churmuri (a wonderful mix of textures and one of our favourite dishes of the day) and the quinoa, barley and glazed-chicken salad (again, so much better than it sounds and drizzled with a tasty dressing).
The oysters are then served in a spectacular fashion. Arranged in a bowl of ice and served with chutney foam, fresh lemon, Tabasco, soy vinegar and glasses of tomato juice-based drinks, just tasting these bivalves is quite an event at Tamba.
We finish the ‘bites’ with some fried idli balls, and realise that if these special and interesting recipes are just nibbles to get us warmed up, then the rest must be even better.
Sure enough, the ‘Delhi mix’ is served with some typically impressive, Tamba-style theatrics. The mound of creamy yoghurt, quinoa and raspberry is turned into a dramatic smoking pile as liquid nitrogen is poured over the top of it. It tastes fantastic, too.
The stuffed mushrooms are covered in a delightful creamy sauce, while the other meat-free options include mashed vegetables wrapped in pasta and topped with chopped peppers and baby sweetcorn.
Each creative plate is immaculately presented and explained in to us in great detail. It isn’t the kind of food you’d find in a typical Indian restaurant, and we can’t stop commenting on how fantastic it is.
For mains we decide on the dal makhni (this version of the creamy black lentil dish is possibly one of the best things we’ve ever tasted) and the okra kurture. The latter is a fascinating dish made up of many layers of deliciousness, with mushed tomatoes topped with shredded potatoes and the fried greens. With crispy naans and pilau rice, it’s brilliant.
The pudding platter is described as ‘the lasting impression’ and it certainly leaves a great one. Decorated with a sparkler and more billowing steam, the highlights of the dramatic spread include the decadent Break-Up (layers of chocolate mousse, nuts and cream) and the Sticky Situation (basically sticky toffee pudding topped with banana).
It’s all absolutely faultless.
Dhs195 (soft drinks), Dhs295 (house beverages). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. The Hub at The Mall at World Trade Center Abu Dhabi (02 672 8888).
WHAT IS IT...
Indian-inspired dishes designed to bring in the likes on Instagram
For the incredible flavours and the best ‘Break-Up’ you’ve ever had (we’re still dreaming about this naughty dessert)