It’s been less than a year since Tamba opened and the desserts at this Indian-inspired eatery in Abu Dhabi’s World Trade Centre Mall, have already caused quite a stir. Speak to anyone about Tamba and it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll ask if you’ve tried the ‘break-up’. A dessert which has taken the capital by storm!
In little over nine months Tamba has risen to the top of Abu Dhabi’s competitive dining scene via modern interpretations of classic Indian dishes, a startling array of cocktails and those wonderful desserts.
So what is it that sets these ‘lasting impressions’ apart from the usual Rasmalai, Gulab Jamun and Jalebi? Tamba cleverly avoids the overly sweet, syrupy and milky elements that are so often associated with Indian desserts and instead focus on creating desserts with so much personality that they could in fact be characters themselves.
Each dessert at Tamba represents part of a complex tale of love and passion, like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle that’s not fully realised until all the pieces are in place. People who’ve already dined at Tamba, will know the story of Mumtaz and S.J. but there has been a further twist to the sordid affair and starting from Valentine’s Day, a new dessert has been introduced onto the menu.
Anything new to Tamba is likely to be met with intrigue and excitement and a new dessert is the pinnacle of this. A press release and clever social media campaign teased some of the details, but a media launch on the evening before Valentine’s Day was where all was to be revealed…
Seated at a table strewn with rose petals, Tamba’s restaurant manager Shipr weaves a narrative full of love and passion that takes us through each of the restaurants signature desserts. We start with Mumtaz a well poised and sophisticated woman. Her delicate nature is represented through a dessert of iced halwa wrapped around a strawberry and yogurt parfait. Strawberry features in three different forms including a confit and is perfectly complemented by a rose and pistachio reduction.
Mumtaz meets S.J. and soon falls madly in love. Their relationship is one of extreme passion and soon they’re married, introducing us into the second dessert of our story, The Bride. Dressed all in white, comes the arrival of chilli meringue with Chantilly cream, coconut sorbet and mango. Like the bride herself, the dessert is fragile but there is a fire inside which is aptly represented by the subtle heat from the chilli meringue.
It would seem as though life never goes to plan and before long, another character arrives on the scene. Lady Chatterjee is a seductress and unexpected guest, one who is more brazen than Mumtaz and looks to lead S.J. astray. This dessert is a re-interpretation of a cheesecake and hidden deep inside, you’ll discover a passion fruit curd and a surprise element in the form of popping candy. Jagged shards of white chocolate and honey protrude from the soft cheesecake, letting us know that Lady Chatterjee is not to be crossed.
S.J. does the unthinkable and betrays Mumtaz by falling into the arms of another woman, landing him in a very Sticky Situation. This part of the story is represented by Tamba’s take on a sticky toffee pudding that features caramelized banana, toffee cake and pecan nut praline, which provides an Indian twist via the inclusion of a cardamom ice cream. In our previous review,we described the sticky situation as ‘a true delight’ and we stand by that statement.
Next comes our favourite, the inevitable Break-Up. Much likes its namesake, the dessert signifies the hurt, rage and destruction of a messy relationship break-up. A beautiful gold sphere sits in the centre of a bowl and before your very eyes the sphere is destroyed…followed by a topping of chocolate sauce and a mixture of salted caramel and peanut semifreddo. Even on a second try, the dessert is just as good as we remembered and still remains our favourite dessert in the UAE. Others may have come close but nothing quite beats the excitement and flavours of this over-indulgent chocolate ‘mess’.
Previously, this was where the story ended. With their relationship destroyed, we yearn to know more about what happened to Mumtaz and S.J… and now we do!
Introducing the Indecent Proposal, we find that Mumtaz has picked herself up, redefined herself and is back! Tamba’s new dessert is a show-stopper, a talking point and something entirely different to what has come before. Sat amidst a haze of smoke, you’ll discover a rose granita and lemon sorbet sphere, finished with ruby red raspberry pearls. The dessert certainly looks the part and is much lighter than it predecessors.
After dining on all six desserts in one sitting (#LifeGoals), we still favour the break-up but team Tamba inform us that the Indecent Proposal isn’t the only new addition headed our way. They’re already hard at work on their next dessert and are just awaiting a name. What could it be? Your guess is as good as ours but we’re thinking a male dessert perhaps? Will we finally see a representation of S.J.?
The indecent proposal isn’t the only new thing at Tamba as they’ve also launched monthly wine tasting evenings (held on the last Tuesday of each month) and whiskey tasting evenings (held on the first Tuesday of each month). We recently had the pleasure of attending the latter and enjoyed learning about the differences between a bourbon and whiskey and the distillation process. Paired with some of Tamba’s signature dishes and a selection of premium cigars, this is a great interactive way to spend an evening.
We were invited to dine at Tamba. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE.