Boasting a new addition to the Abu Dhabi brunch scene, Li Jiang’s Saturday offering brings you the sights, sounds and smells of Asia.
The modern restaurant has an open kitchen in which diners can watch chefs create popular Asian dishes such as dim sum and noodles.
The atmosphere has a warm and cosy feel with dimmed lighting, wooden decorations and an incredible wall full of spices. There are plenty of seating options that include private booths, a bar area, large dining tables and more intimate spots. Or you could sink into comfy sofas on the outdoor terrace and enjoy a live DJ set and, of course, those spectacular views of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Now, when most people think of brunch, they envisage an overflow of food from all over the world. But Li Jiang hones in on what it knows best – South Asian fare. And this brunch certainly focuses on quality rather quantity.
The welcome bar offers a few small appetisers such as calamari and tofu, while the waiter serves up fancy mocktails for you to try.
After loading up on starters such as sushi and grilled vegetables, the small tapas-style portions and healthy ingredients make it much easier to enjoy your fill of mains and desserts.
Dim sum lovers are in for a treat here. The dish comes with four types of it – prawn, vegetable, barbecue and chicken. To add a little pizazz to dishes, ask for soy sauce and you’ll be presented with several flavours including coriander and spicy chilli. For mains, we opt for tender beef steak with vegetable rice. The beef is juicy and bursting with flavour. The same can be said for the pan-fried fish dish that we plump for next. The small portion certainly works a treat. Laksa soup and barbecue food stations are sprawled onto the restaurant’s terrace and are both delightful. A crowd pleaser is the perfectly seasoned grilled lamb chops, which are freshly cooked for you.
There’s a separate room dedicated to all things sweet, where you’ll find an array of dainty, miniature cakes and fruit tarts. Nothing really stands out among them though. The shot glasses filled with a clear, thick gloop of fruity-tasting, sugary liquid are just a little too sweet, we reckon. As is traditional with Chinese meals, you can end yours with a cup of cha to wash everything down. It is served in the cutest little cast-iron kettle.
If you’re looking for a busy and lively restaurant, you’ll not find that here. But if you want to kick back as you chow down then this chilled-out brunch is the ideal one to catch up with a group of friends and relax over a lazy afternoon.
The bottom line
Quality Asian fare in elegant surroundings, both inside and out.
Dhs170 (soft drinks), Dhs270 (house beverages), Dhs370 (bubbly). Sat 1pm-4pm. Li Jiang, The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi (02 818 8282).