As the only hotel in the world to span a Formula 1 Circuit, Abu Dhabi’s Yas Viceroy makes quite the first impression…
It’s not just the futuristic design boasting a curved LED covered canopy wrapping around the structure and illuminating the hotel in various vibrant hues, nor the proficient service levels, but the food and beverage outlets which make a real impact.
When it comes to dining at the Yas Viceroy there are nine distinct options to choose from, including the wildly popular Pit Stop Friday Brunch at Origins, the Arabic and Mediterranean fusion of Atayeb or the Asian delicacies found at Kazu. The Viceroy hotel is the place to see and be seen on this particular man made island and not just during the last weekend of November when the eyes of the world are on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Our most recent visit to the property brings us to acclaimed Indian restaurant Angar. The restaurants name derives from the Hindi word for ’ember’ and the connotations with fire as a cookery method are immediately evident. A colour scheme of vibrant reds guides diners attention towards an open show kitchen with the focal feature being the tandoori oven (but more on that later).
As far as decor goes, Angar keeps things relatively simple, and aside from coloured glass hanging lanterns and some intricate floor tiling, embellishment is kept minimal, presumably for diners attention to remain solely on the food. A spacious outside terrace is likely to be where most guest will settle, looking our across rainbow colored fountains towards the grandstands.
Service is friendly, efficient and knowledgable and comes from a predominantly male team, dressed in traditional tunics that keep with the colour scheme of fiery reds, burnt orange and earthy browns. While the menu is an expansive two page affair, the team are more than happy to guide diners towards suitable dishes with no sign of up-selling.
Broken into distinct sections for breads, soups, starters, tandoor, vegetarian and non-vegetarian (there’s even a vegan menu) the selection errs towards the more traditional choices such as butter chicken while sensibly including a handful of more obscure options. Our Duck Galouti represents one of Angar’s surprises and brings a sense of fine dining modernity to a cuisine usually associated with comfort food. A duo of minced duck patties are particularly well seasoned, sat upon a fragrant saffron bread and topped with generous pieces of foie gras making for an audacious blend of texture and flavour.
As expected flavours take prominence throughout the meal and the starter of Saffron Coconut Scallops comes served in a sweet and velvety sauce that works to complement the delicate flesh of the poached scallops. These intricate sauces are likely to be the element we’ll remember most about our visit to Angar and the signature main course of Lemon Chili Lobster Curry represents another strong dish. Two pieces of poached lobster take prominence within a gravy of coconut and kaffir lime that’s seductivley aromatic without taking away from the crustacean as the focus of the dish. The curry had us reaching for the light and fluffy naan breads, which straight from the tandoor, are easy contenders for the best in the city. We actually order extra to mop up the gravy (it’s that good)!
Yet the tandoor remains the focus of any meal at Angar and the Kebab Platter shouldn’t be missed. Presented on a sleek black slate the chargrilled taste is achieved via the intense heat of the clay oven, sealing in the meats natural fats. Made up of tandoori prawns, tandoori chicken tikka, salmon tikka and a lamp chop, the cookery method may be the same but the unique spice blends ensure each each item achieves a unique and prominent composition of flavour.
With many of the dishes presented on red crockery, the name of the restaurant is carried into the culinary journey, with the presentation of each dish well thought out and executed with precision to emphasise the notion of tandoor cookery. The desserts retain a flare for presentation and offer a modern take on a handful of Indian classics of which we’d recommend the rich and decadent Chocolate Cardamom Cake and the warm Gulab Jaman served with an interesting fig and ginger ice cream.
Through the addition of a vegan menu and weekly curry club Angar are at the forefront of catering to customer interest and dietary requirements in a city where these factors are so often lacking. With molecular gastronomy and presentation gimmickry increasingly becoming the norm when it comes to Indian food in the UAE, it’s pleasing to see Angar sticking with a more traditional interpretation of the subcontinents cuisine and it’s this representation of such a diverse country that makes dining at Angar so special.
As the winner of best Indian restaurant for the past two years at the Fact Abu Dhabi Dining Awards, there’s no better time to experience the vibrancy of India right here in the capital at Angar.
This article originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of FACT Magazine.
Out & About UAE were guests of Angar. All views are our own and photographs are © Out & About UAE.