DETAILS: Dhs200 (soft drinks), Dhs295 (house beverages). Thu 8.30pm-11pm. Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi (800 101 101).
Market Kitchen is, no doubt, one of the more charming restaurants in the city. Its “home from home” concept shines through the tall shelves of knick-knacks, relaxed seating that includes couches and armchairs and even a modern fireplace. And, of course, it’s most talked-about feature, the olive tree that sprouts up in the middle of the dining room.
Split across two floors, disc-shaped lights hang from the high ceiling to light up the lower level in a warm glow.
We grab a table on the second level by the bar, overlooking what is a full house buzzing with excitement now that brunch is back after its summer break.
The evening brunch at Market Kitchen is a more intimate affair compared to its midday Friday offering, which is also frequented by young families. That being said, it still manages to be casual and relaxed – perfect to usher in the weekend with after a long week at the office.
The concept for the evening is simple. It’s a set menu, over three courses brought to be shared at your table. There are five appetisers to begin with, and while the portions aren’t overwhelming, they are unlimited. The salmon tartare has bits of hazelnut tossed through it that add a crunch to each bite.
The restaurant’s signature black truffle pizza is also included in the deal, and it’s just as we remember it. Its crust is thin and crispy and there’s certainly no skimping on the truffle, or the cheese for that matter.
Unexpectedly though, it is the kale salad that catches our attention. It’s a simple dish made up of croutons, sliced red chillies and, of course, lashings of the superfood. But its zesty parmesan dressing makes it a bowl we keep going back to, and hang on to even as mains arrive.
The portions of the mains aren’t huge either, and there’s no seconds on this round, handy if you plan on keeping it light.
The pasta in a lemon and cheese sauce is nice but ordinary, and is outshone by the roasted meagre fillet, in presentation and taste. The fish sits on a bed of a chunky Malaysian chilli sauce; its skin is crisp and the fragrant sauce works a treat. We only wish our portion had more than two meagre pieces of the fish.
Juliennes of apple, an apple purée and a crumble add levels of texture to the soy glazed ribs, that make them interesting, but we have had better.
For dessert, the highlight of the trio of sweets is the sundae that is served in a little teacup – it’s a delicate version of a classic treat. The scoop of vanilla ice cream is dressed with chocolate and caramelised popcorn – a nice way to end the meal.
The staff remain friendly and thoughtful throughout, making it a very enjoyable evening.
The bottom line
A promising brunch in an elegant setting.