Zari Zardozi Indian Restaurant

Mid-priced Indian restaurant in Abu Dhabi's Al Raha Mall
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Time Out Says

Oh dear, how the mighty have fallen from grace. Once highly recommended as Abu Dhabi’s best Indian by TOAD (back in the heady days of 2009...), Zari Zardozi is now a run of the mill Indian-fusion restaurant; a jack of all trades, master of none.

On the ground floor of Al Raha Mall, the restaurant’s tall ceilings and spacious table plan make it suitable for shoppers with big bags or parents with buggies. There are high chairs available for tots, and a TV playing cartoons and an open kitchen will entertain young children.

The outdoor terrace at the back of the restaurant has a partial view of Al Raha beach, but the chairs are designed to fit around the table corners – unique, but uncomfortable, as the corners jab into your stomach. Sit indoors though, and you’ll have to listen to Indian keyboard muzak and look at the depressing plastic roses on each table.

The ambiance is rescued by chandeliers dangling from the ceiling and a seating area with low tables in one corner, which is decorated by broken bits of mirror. But this is more of an attractive waiting area than a corner to sit and have a drink – especially as the restaurant only serves soft drinks.

The menu is extensive, and includes unusual options such as chicken tikka pesto, Indian fondue and tandushi – tandoori-flavoured sushi – as well as mushroom soup, which makes it seem as if the restaurant is having an identity crisis. Some of the dishes are Bite Rite options, which means they’ve been designed by nutritionists to be a healthier option low in fat, salt and carbohydrates and high in protein.

We play it safe and opt for boondi raita, a new dish made from spiced yoghurt with gram flour dumplings the size of chickpeas, subz nargasi kofta – vegetable dumplings in a mild tomato sauce – and aloo paratha, flaky flatbread stuffed with spiced potato.

The bread is a Bite Rite option, so it’s not excessively oily. It didn’t lack flavour, but it was let down by sloppy, mushy dumplings in both dishes. It doesn’t say much when the highlight of the meal is the free poppadums and mint sauce served with them, washed down with a delicious tangy mango lassi.

Still, the portions are generous, so we had no room for dessert. The crepes with honey, butterscotch ice cream and umm ali hot pastry dish sound tempting; the deep-fried ice cream with coconut – which isn’t a Bite Rite option – less so.

Staff are friendly, attentive and happy to answer questions, but unfortunately the service isn’t enough to encourage a repeat visit.

The bottom line? Zari Zardozi is no destination diner. Go if you’re hungry and happen to be in the mall anyway, otherwise give it a miss.

The bill (for one):
Boondi raita (yoghurt) Dhs14
Subz nargasi kofta (dumpling curry) Dhs45
Aloo paratha (potato stuffed bread) Dhs8
Total (excluding service) Dhs67

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff  | 12 Jan 2014

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Details

11:30 AM to 11:30 PM
Sunday: 11:30 AM to 11:30 PMMonday: 11:30 AM to 11:30 PMTuesday: 11:30 AM to 11:30 PMWednesday: 11:30 AM to 11:30 PMThursday: 11:30 AM to 11:30 PMFriday: 11:30 AM to 11:30 PMSaturday: 11:30 AM to 11:30 PM
Show number +971 2 556 5188
Abu Dhabi, Al Raha Beach, Abu Dhabi-Dubai Road (E 10 Road)

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