Chameleon (Al Maqtaa)

Quality food, even though it isn't the bar's main priority
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Time Out Says

The first thing we notice as we sit down at Chameleon is that no one is eating. In fact, not only can we not see any food, but the chic style of the bar’s patrons and thumping house music evidently indicates that we’ve walked into the middle of a very different establishment than most bars we eat at. This is more Friday night nightclub than Sunday pub lunch.

We look at the menu and this is confirmed, because there are only 10 dishes on it, (whilst the drinks menu spans an impressive nine pages) most of which are no more than bar bites. Some of the bigger dishes available include sausage and mash and burgers, but we opt to try the baked potato wedges with tomato salsa and melted cheddar and the Cornish crab cakes, followed by the chicken, leek and stilton pie, which we elect to be served with a portion of truffle and parmesan fries, and a margherita pizza (the only dish on the menu available to vegetarians).

We have to wait a reasonably long period of time before our food arrives considering we are the only people eating, we suspect this is because our food is being prepared elsewhere and we aren’t the kitchen’s primary priority, but the ambience here is good and the bar is filling up quickly (it’s ladies’ night, so the party has started early), and we’re more than happy to wait with drinks.

When our food does arrive we tuck right in, and our pleasantly surprised with what find. The crab cakes are well cooked and delicate. They’re moist and light, and retain lots of seafood flavour. The potato wedges have been baked and so aren’t oily, they actually taste quite healthy. The tomato is something we’re more used to seeing on a bruschetta than a potato but the dish works.

The chicken and leek pie is decent , but it isn’t the best we’ve had in the city. The pastry lid is good, but the filling is lacking real depth to its flavour. The stilton gratin on top of the pie is its best feature, its flavour gives the pie some punch, but there’s only enough of it to impact a couple of mouthfuls. The parmesan and truffle fries, however, are unique and tasty. They’re served with truffle aioli, but we don’t need this for the truffle to shine through.

The margherita pizza is from the kitchen at Frankie’s next door. It’s thin and crispy, and the cheese and tomato topping is good. We eat the whole thing, but wishing that there was something more exciting on the menu.

Overall the food at Chameleon is very good, but we can understand why there isn’t anyone eating here. With some of our favourite restaurants a stone’s throw away and such a small menu you aren’t ever going to go here for dinner, but if you fancy a snack whilst enjoying a fabulous drinks menu then you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find. Watch out for the prices though, they aren’t cheap.

The bill (for two):

Cornish crab cakes Dhs65
Potato wedges Dhs35
Chicken an leek pie Dhs60
Truffle and parmesan fries Dhs35
Margherita pizza Dhs80
Total (excl. Service) Dhs275

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff  | 16 Sep 2014

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Details

6:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Sunday: 6:00 PM to 1:00 AMMonday: 6:00 PM to 1:00 AMTuesday: 6:00 PM to 1:00 AMWednesday: 6:00 PM to 1:00 AMThursday: 6:00 PM to 1:00 AMFriday: 6:00 PM to 1:00 AMSaturday: 6:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Show number +971 2 654 3238
Abu Dhabi, Bain Al Jessrain, Ground floor, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr,Al Maqta - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates
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