The team at Blu Sky Lounge & Grill walked away with our Best Sports Bar award at the 2016 Time Out Abu Dhabi Music & Nightlife Awards for good reason. The cool, urban venue offers the perfect setting for catch-ups with friends while taking in a game, shown from one of the numerous HD screens dotted around the spacious venue. For such an occasion, we wholeheartedly recommend the spot. For brunch, however, we still need more convincing.
First of all, it is dark. There are no windows and, while the cool blue lighting and smart, modern décor is impressive in the evening, it’s not exactly where you’d want to spend the day, particularly while the weather is pleasant.
We like the casual vibes, however, and it’s best enjoyed with a group of like-minded mates who are as laid-back as you are. It’s definitely not for couples, small groups or families.
Then there’s the food, which is served à la carte from a specially created menu. It’s everything you would expect from a bar – sliders, mussels, roast dinner and chicken tikka masala, for example — but, overall, the quality is rather hit and miss.
Our sharing platter of starters includes breaded calamari, chicken wings and stilton mushrooms, but it’s disappointing. After a lengthy wait, we’re served up a giant portion of each, but the calamari is chewy and the stilton mushrooms are unappealing, although the barbecue wings are good.
For mains, the Angus beef sliders are cooked well and boast good flavours, as do the mussels, but it’s the fish and chips that really impress – the fish is flaky and succulent, while the crunchy batter is perfect, and the chunky chips are everything we hoped for.
The portions are huge, so it doesn’t take long before we’re very, very full, but we still make an effort to sample the selection of mini cakes. Again, these are a bit of a let-down. They’re fairly dry, lacking in flavour and texturally unappealing. On the other hand, the chocolate chip brownie, served with ice cream, is delicious – it’s gooey, rich (but not overly so), and everything it should be.
As it’s new, the brunch still lacks a little atmosphere. A live duo does start later on, but if you’re there earlier, then your only entertainment is the music video channel on the tellies.
Once it gets more popular and a few tweaks are made to the dishes, it could be a good, reasonably priced alternative to the usual over-blown Friday afternoon options in the city.
Dhs129 (soft drinks), Dhs199 (house beverages). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Southern Sun Abu Dhabi, Al Mina Street Tourist Club Area (02 818 4888).
The bottom line
A good choice for sporty mates.