Business Lunch Eat

Review: Market Kitchen, Le Royal Meridien

We were very excited this week to receive an invite from Market Kitchen to attend a tasting for their new dining concept ‘Lunch In’Box‘ at the stunning Le Royal Meridien hotel. The concept is simple – customers can order a two course meal for just Dhs 75 and can be finished eating within thirty minutes.

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This twist on the traditional business lunch is an innovative idea from the team at Market Kitchen and one that we are surprised, wasn’t done sooner. The business lunch crowd is a tricky one, with people vying for a quick bite during the course of a chaotic work day. Often you will attempt to lunch between back-to-back meetings and unsuccessfully need to return to work, before your food has even arrived, and that can prove somewhat problematic! Thankfully ‘Lunch In’Box‘ hopes to resolve all of those issues, whilst delivering on the promise of fresh, good quality food.

Despite having heard positive things about Market Kitchen from a number of fellow bloggers, this was actually the first time that we had visited. The space is simply wonderful, with an interior that feels homely and cosy, whilst still retaining a modern and elegant vibe. The entire left side of the restaurant is made of floor to ceiling windows that let in ample natural light, whilst the high ceilings are adorned with hanging lights, casting a warm orange glow throughout the space. There is even a tree in the middle – making for a striking feature and a great talking point.

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Photo © Out & About UAE

As this was a tasting session for the new lunch menu, a select handful of Abu Dhabi bloggers were on hand to sample the dishes and get a feel for this speedy new lunch. Upon arrival at the restaurant we were seated with Kiran Kumar, the director of marketing and PR for the hotel who talked passionately about this new venture and Market Kitchen’s aim to provide good quality and fresh produce to its patrons.

A glance at the menu offered a number of tantalising beverage choices from sparkling Thyme lemonade, to passion chilli soda and kumquat muddle – refreshing options that you are unlikely to discover on any other menu in the capital. Though what impressed us most about the lunch, was the fact that the dishes on offer change on a weekly basis to not only keep people interested, but also to make use of the seasonal ingredients available in Abu Dhabi.

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Butternut squash soup and Fettucine pasta with basil pistachio pesto

The appetizers and entree’s offer a nice selection to suit those with specific dietary requirements and the descriptions sounded sumptuous and inviting, with even the salads sounding pleasing – chopped lettuce, avocado, apples, pecans and blue cheese (yum). What makes Market really stand out though, is the fact that because everything is made fresh to order, you have the ability to customise your food by adding or removing the ingredients that you do not want. This shows a nice attention to detail and a willingness to cater to individual needs.

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Slow cooked salmon, brussel sprouts, mashed potato and truffle vinaigrette

The ingredients are what really elevate the dishes at Market Kitchen, as you can taste each individual element of the dish without any one flavour overpowering the others. For starters we sampled the divine tuna sashimi with crispy fried rice, scallion and chipotle mayonnaise. The idea of deep frying sushi is something that we had never come across before arriving in the UAE – but much like its counterparts at the recently reviewed Moshi – it can only be described as a resounding success.

We followed the sushi with a delectable short rib, so tender and melt-in-the-mouth that we only wished there was more on the plate! The meat was soy glazed and served with a rosemary crumb and sweet apple puree, making for a tantalising combination of sweet and savoury that worked ever so well.

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Tuna sashimi, crispy sushi rice, scallion and chipotle mayonnaise
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Soy glazed beef short ribs, apple-jalapeno puree and rosemary crumb

The new lunchtime offering at Market Kitchen is a resounding success, with good portions sizes (not too large or too heavy for lunchtime) and with a great price point. For Dhs 75 you are getting two courses of food that is of a very high standard and is made with love and care – not the usual ‘slop in a box’ you see offered as lunchtime fare so commonly throughout the city. Best of all, if you don’t have time to eat in the restaurant (though we fully recommend that you do) there is the option for takeaway boxes or even delivery within the local area.

Though not included as part of the lunch box menu (they can be ordered as additions) we simply had to sample the desserts! Anyone with an Instagram account knows that Market Kitchen has become synonymous with its signature salted caramel ice cream sundae, served with lashings of peanuts, chocolate fudge sauce and popcorn – this dessert is gluttonous decadence at it’s best.

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Salted caramel ice cream sundae, peanuts, popcorn and chocolate fudge sauce

The desserts are a full sensory experience with the smells being just as powerful as the flavours. For example, the banana cake smells fruity and sweet with an aroma that wafted over the entire table and the popcorn on the ice-cream sundae could be smelt before it even arrived from the kitchen.

Despite this, our dessert of choice was the passion fruit pavlova transpired to be an innovative visual masterpiece. Served as a ball of light meringue – once ‘cracked open’ – the passion fruit sorbet inside resembles an egg yolk and the whole visual spectacle comes to life, punctuated with a smattering of sensual yellow seeds.

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Passion fruit pavlova, soft whipped crisp meringue with passion fruit sorbet

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As a nice small venue with capacity for just over one hundred guests, we strongly suggest that you visit Market Kitchen. The new lunch box concept will give newbies the opportunity to sample some of the establishments best dishes (and regulars to remember why keep coming back) – we have been converted, and are hoping to try the brunch here very very soon.

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Caramelised banana cake, crunchy praline and salted caramel ice cream

Market Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We were invited to this event but all views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE, unless otherwise stated. 

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