Zest (Al Ain)

Buffet fare served in a kid friendly location in Al Ain
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Time Out Says

Al Ain might not be able to compete with the city of Abu Dhabi when it comes to the number of hotels and restaurants on offer, but it’s still home to some big hitters, such as their very own Rotana hotel. And inside, pretty much like every hotel in the UAE, is an all-day dining restaurant.

You won’t find any surprises at Zest, the garden city’s answer to an international buffet. It’s the usual mixed grills and curries with a bit of sushi thrown in with various veg dishes.

TOAD visited on a Friday to try out their brunch package. Don’t expect too much of an atmosphere here. The décor is pretty neutral, with creams and beige the main colour schemes and brown curved, wooden panelling around some nicely positioned alcoves for more private dining. Part of the floor is glass with stones sitting underneath. It’s a tasteful place. The stereo plays an eclectic mix of Amy Winehouse, Earth Wind and Fire and Tom Jones.

Another nice touch on a Friday comes in the shape of a giant teddy bear. It’s very kid friendly here, with the costumed furry friend waving at everyone as they enter and keeping children entertained by playing a few DVDs on the huge TV screen or occupying them with a few games of Nintendo Wii.

After a quick shake of the bear’s paw came the food. First up, the soup. Cream of marrow was a nice change from the usual suspects and was creamy and tasty. There’s a small sushi bar, which was a tad disappointing, offering little more than a few crab-stick filled numbers and a bit of mackerel. The salad bar was also a tad limp.

The mains are largely a mix of Arabic, Indian and Chinese dishes. The chicken curry was standard fare but flavoursome enough to warrant an ample helping. The shrimp dim sum was delicious with lightly cooked, juicy seafood, that’ll have you heading back for more. Unfortunately, there was something fishy on the menu: a rather disappointingly dry fish tikka.

The staff at Zest are friendly, polite and were happy to answer any questions we had about the food, plus they were also quick to fill up our glasses of soft drinks whenever we needed. Zest also has some nice outdoor seating and they do themed nights, such as steak and seafood.

Naturally, they also do desserts. The chocolate mousse felt designed with kids in mind. It’s artificial taste won’t thrill many but brought back pleasant childhood school memories for team TOAD. The cheesecake, curiously, came with black crunchy bits in it that we think were vanilla seeds. They also serve fruit, including some melon that had such an odd taste we were left wondering if it had been sprayed with something and was for display only. We ended our brunch with the cheese board, which unfortunately seemed to feel a bit sorry for itself. We’re not sure Edam is what you’ll be craving to end your meal with.

So, would we visit Zest again? If we’re going with kids, then definitely. The food is a bit hit and miss, but it’s a friendly place and is well positioned if you’re off visiting the zoo, Jebel Hafeet or Wadi Adventure. Just make sure you say hello to the friendly bear: and choose your grub wisely.

The bill (for two)
Brunch for two Dhs344
Total (excluding service) Dhs344

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff  | 05 Mar 2013

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FacilitiesDine In
Payment OptionsCash, Credit Card
Dress CodeCasuals
6:30 AM to 1:30 PM
Sunday: 6:30 AM to 1:30 PMMonday: 6:30 AM to 1:30 PMTuesday: 6:30 AM to 1:30 PMWednesday: 6:30 AM to 1:30 PMThursday: 6:30 AM to 1:30 PMFriday: 6:30 AM to 1:30 PMSaturday: 6:30 AM to 1:30 PM
Show number +971 3 703 1067
Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Al Mutawaa, Al Ain

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