This is the life. Sitting overlooking shimmering waters, away from city stresses, listening to the cool sounds from the DJ... We could get used to it.
We’re at La Cala, a small waterside spot at Ghantoot marina. Okay, it’s a fair drive from downtown Abu Dhabi to here, but we guarantee that once you arrive you’ll think it’s worth it. We certainly do.
The venue is split over two levels. As you walk down a few steps to the top floor you’ll see a busy bar, surrounded with lounge seating and a DJ booth (more on that later). On our visit it’s absolutely buzzing with groups of friends and couples enjoying themselves. Down another flight of stairs is a slightly quieter area, with tables and chairs set up for those eating.
At the moment, La Cala only opens on a Friday, with brunch served between 1pm and 9pm. Whatever time you start you’ll have three hours of beverages and a short but sweet set menu to enjoy. Each week there’s a guest DJ from Ibiza or the UK, who plays in the middle of the afternoon (with resident DJs completing the line-up).
The music is courtesy of The House That Love Built, who are responsible for bringing over a mighty impressive roster of DJs. The tunes fit the ‘Balearic brunch’ tag, as do the crowd and vibe.
Our fellow brunchers and party-goers are an eclectic bunch, not your usual ball gown-clad ladies and waxed, bequiffed men. Here, you’re as likely to flip-flops and straw hats as tight shirts with a little too much chest on show.
Staff are lovely, too, with a warm welcome, and good run-through of the packages (house beverages for Dhs249, sparkling for Dhs499, a few starters to share, a choice of mains and a fruit platter to finish with). A bucket of hops is brought nice and early while we look through the menu, too.
If this all sounds good to be true, the afternoon isn’t without its niggles. Despite an impressive start, staff seem baffled that one of us might want soft drinks.
There’s no package mentioned (it turns out to be Dhs150), but we’re offered mocktails, which works for us. Getting them proves more tricky.
Despite repeated requests and promises, we’re left without so much as a glass of tap water for almost an hour.
We can see the pizzas being made from scratch, and they’re by far the highlight (burrata and paprika squid are a close second and third). Sides of potato and corn are served cold (we’d prefer them hot, please) and the steak is overdone.
Nonetheless, dry throat aside, this is a top afternoon out.
Dhs150 (soft drinks), Dhs249 (house beverages), Dhs499 (sparkling). Fri 1pm-9pm (three hour package). Ghantoot Marina & Resort (050 151 8407).
The bottom line
More fun than foodie, but we don’t mind.