Quirky Indian serving cheap and decent international buffet
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Time Out Says

Head down busy Electra Street and you’ll find a restaurant with a bit of a split personality. Caravan is an Indian which curiously only serves buffet inside, yet offers an à la carte menu for takeaway and delivery. And what a curious buffet it is.

Not only does Caravan do Indian grub, they also serve up Chinese and Thai dishes as well. What’s more, if you’re still not sure what cuisine you want to eat on a night out, you could try their varied Arabic starters.
While this pick and mix style of eating from different countries isn’t uncommon in Abu Dhabi, it’s something we’re more used to seeing in hotels’ international restaurants, and not at a place which claims to serve Indian cuisine.

There are a few novel things about Caravan, from the steep staircase leading up to it (and the fact you have to go through the entrance of another restaurant downstairs to get there, which surely can’t be good for business), to the décor that screams, ‘the land that style forgot’ (or as most of us know it, the 1980s). There’s more red velvet on the chairs and walls than in an Austin Powers movie, and the ceiling has tiles with circular indents which again embrace a bygone era. You won’t blow away a date by taking them here.

But this retro look has its charms and one bonus is the addition of separate rooms for private parties, something we think more venues could do with. We sat by a window, which also meant we could watch the crowds and cabs making their way down bustling Electra Street.

The staff though were all smiles on arrival and charming all night. They didn’t constantly buzz around you like an irritating wasp at a picnic, something waiters have a tendancy to do in this city. But, of course, a buffet means they don’t have that much waiting to actually do, and with our plates at the ready, we tucked into this schizophrenic banquet.

The salad bar tabbouleh was tasty and fresh, as was the hummus, which made our thought process for the mains a tad more difficult. And following it up with some Chinese pineapple fried rice probably wasn’t the cleverest move we’ve made. The rice, unfortunately, was overly sweet and a tad sickly, while offering very little flavour.

Thankfully, several of the dishes came to our rescue. The garlic fish with green peppers was a treat: not too spicy, with big flaky chunks, but special mention should go to the salt and pepper cauliflower. Not a course we’ve seen before, but one executed with style: it’s texture was more akin to seafood such as calamari, yet the simple taste was surprisingly moreish.

For dessert, we went with the Indian classic gulab jamun. This Indian style donut served in syrup can be eaten hot or cold. We went for the cooked version and its fresh dough and not-too-sickly syrup was
a hit. Our dining partner went for the chocolate mousse which brought flashbacks to school dinners from the 1980s once again. Please note, we don’t think this is a bad thing.

Get past the quirky novelty value and there’s some decent fare to be had at Caravan: and it’s probably one of the cheapest buffets in the city.

The bill (for two)
Buffet for two Dhs98
Total (excluding service) Dhs98

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff  | 11 Dec 2012

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12:30 PM to 11:30 PM
Sunday: 12:30 PM to 11:30 PMMonday: 12:00 PM to 11:30 PMTuesday: 12:00 PM to 11:30 PMWednesday: 12:00 PM to 11:30 PMThursday: 12:00 PM to 11:30 PMFriday: 12:00 PM to 11:30 PMSaturday: 12:00 PM to 11:30 PM
Show number 02 639 3370
Abu Dhabi, Madinat Zayed, Zayed The 2nd Street (Electra Road) - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates

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