Since opening just over a year ago The Warehouse at the Pearl Rotana has carved out a comfortable niche in Abu Dhabi’s dining scene. The casual nature of the venue is the first of many appealing factors that make a trip to this corner of ADNEC such a pleasure. Tucked award with the modern glass facade of the hotel, The Warehouse is anything but contemporary. Resulting in a multi-faceted venue that is a hybrid of wine-cellar, sports bar and cantina. While not fully committing too either.
We enter the venue through a chain mail ‘curtain’ and past large wine barrels into a venue that is undeniably cosy thanks to subdued lighting and pockets of darkness that cast alluring shadows across the walls. A well-stocked bar sits in the centre of the room and in manned by constantly smiling staff who are well-versed in the intricacies of both the bar and food menus. Around the perimeter of the room are a number of alcoves which double as booths and provide privacy. There’s also a small lounge area replete with book cases, monochromatic tiled floors and comfortable leather couches.
Representing one of just a handful of wine bars in Abu Dhabi, The Warehouse attracts a different clientele to La Cava at The Rosewood and the yet-to-open Lexx at the Grand Hyatt. Featuring a broad range of grapes, hops and mixed drinks, alongside a menu of sharing plates, that although described as ‘tapas’ do not stick to the expected Spanish origins.
Our most recent visit begins with the Swiss alpine specialty of Raclette, A semi-hard cheese that is heated and the melted cheese scraped off. Reminding us more of winter ski trips that the summer heat of Abu Dhabi, it’s nevertheless a fun and comforting dish and the only place (to our knowledge) the undeniably cheesy treat is available in the city. Keeping with the winter theme a cheese or chocolate fondu is also available.
Dishes add a bit of fun to the dining experience via a selection of what are humorously described as ‘cheesy moments’ plus a number of sausage-by-the-meter options. Despite these choices, we tend to find ourselves gravitating back to familiar dishes we’ve enjoyed over the course of our (many) repeat visits. The selection of flatbreads being particularly strong, providing a wonderfully thin base generously covered in winning topping combinations such as goats cheese, rocca and red wine onions (AED 65).
From the ‘light bites’ menu section, the avocado hummus with crudités and pita crisps (AED 53) has fast become a must order thanks to a unique twist on a classic Middle Eastern favourite. Similarly, the spicy tuna poke tacos (AED 56) have always been consistently strong with the exception of our most recent visit where the dish unfortunately came off as somewhat bland (an off day in the kitchen perhaps).
A number of appealing ‘jars and pots’ lean into the sharing concept and with the smaller portions of sharing plates, we home room to try and few more dishes. Of these, we return time and again to the sizzling prawns (AED 60) served with togarashi mayo and sesame seeds. The classic cheeseburger sliders (AED 65) with their juicy Angus beef patties and dull pickles return things back to familiar pub grub territory and are complemented by a choice of unordinary fries – halloumi, battered parmesan or naked sweet potato.
Mac and cheese lovers will delight in a choice of six flavours, including beef chorizo, Turkish lamb and veal bacon. Although the menu is somewhat in-cohesive, all of the dishes selected for inclusion revolve around hearty options that are sure-fire crowd pleasers. In turn offering a ‘something for everyone approach’ that pushes a little bit further than what is being served at similar establishments around town.
Much like the atmosphere and surrounds, the food is casual and plays well into the daily promotions that attract a good crowd to The Warehouse each evening, from Smashing Sundays (50% off house beverages all day long), to Merlot Mondays (50% off Merlot) and Tuesday Steak Bites (unlimited steak bites and a glass of house grape for AED 155). These are the kind of offers that appeal to customers and have captured a loyal following for The Warehouse in such a short timespan.
A year after opening we have already forged a rather strong connection with The Warehouse having celebrated birthdays and leaving parties in a venue that is always welcoming and able to adapt guest requirements. While the ADNEC area is already home to a number of hotel restaurants, The Warehouse has managed to inject life into this business district and fully commits to the marketing tag-line of “good folks, good wine.” We’ll see you there…
Out & About UAE were guests of The Warehouse. All views are our own and photographs are © Out & About UAE.