The evening brunch at Cho Gao Marina Walk in Abu Dhabi

Brunch review: A popular night event serving food from all over Asia

The evening brunch at Cho Gao Marina Walk in Abu Dhabi
The evening brunch at Cho Gao Marina Walk in Abu Dhabi Image #2

Cho Gao Marina Walk must be one of the busiest venues in Abu Dhabi on a Thursday night.

It’s a vast restaurant, with both a cool Asian-themed moody interior and a wide wooden terrace overlooking the marina, but both areas are nearly full.

Like us, most are here for the evening brunch, which at less than Dhs200 per person for house beverages and a set menu of Asian bites, seems pretty good value before we’ve even had a bite of our first wasabi prawn.

Our server is quite brusque but efficient, and we like the no-nonsense approach. The set menu means we get to try a bit of everything so there are no decisions to make, and our mixed drinks are all delivered relatively quickly considering the crowd around us.

The menu is meant to go from table snacks such as prawn crackers, through to salads, maki rolls, hot starters, mains and finally desserts.

Somehow we manage to miss out on several steps, and the first thing to arrive at our table are the hot bites. But we’re not ones to argue when presented with spring rolls, so we tuck in straight away. They are just the greasy snack we need to satisfy our post-work hunger, but make sure you ask for some sweet chilli dip to make them even better still.

The wasabi prawns are also the perfect mix of creamy and spicy, and it’s a nice change from our usual dynamite shrimp. Meanwhile, the chicken skewers are nicely cooked and not dry, however we can take or leave the steamed chicken dim sum.

Expecting far more starters on the way, we decline the offer of repeating any of the appetisers, although we could easily eat pile after pile of wasabi prawns (if somehow the calories didn’t count), but suddenly the mains are upon us, and although the beef rendang, Thai chicken and chilli prawns all look excellent, we’re reluctant to miss out on the other savoury options. This is soon rectified once we point out that the system seems to have broken down, and soon, our table is covered in tasty morsels.

The beef rendang is full of tender meat and the mildly spiced sauce is super. Paired with the sticky rice it tastes just as good as anything you’ll have tried on your jollies in Bali. The chilli prawns are a delight, too, containing big pieces of juicy shellfish, flavoured with the perfect combination of fresh lemongrass and ginger. However, the chicken is a bit too sweet and heavily battered for our tastes.

We’re also glad we insisted on trying the salads. The pomelo salad is fantastic, and full of chicken, prawn, peanuts and coriander, it’s the least boring healthy plate we’ve ever had. The green papaya salad is also a super take on the classic dish, and the fresh beans and tomatoes are nice contrast to the other fried and rice-heavy dishes.

The three different maki rolls don’t last long, and the signature Cho Gao roll with prawn tempura and crab is one of the highlights of the night.
We’re stuffed by the time it gets to dessert, which is a few bites of fruit, ice cream and cake.

This lively gathering is a top way of starting off the weekend in style.
Dhs135 (soft drinks), Dhs195 (house beverages). Thu 7pm-11pm. Intercontinental Abu Dhabi, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud Street (02 666 6888).

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