Congratulations Khadeejah H. A. Mustafa.
Cho Gao means “Rice Market” in Vietnamese. This chic and uber venue is located in the heart of the Capital City at Crowne Plaza. Having beautiful modern, elegant vibes, it is also a non-smoking restaurant, offers an East Asian Experience that takes inspiration from Thailand, Indonesia, China and Vietnam. Accordingly, the menu offers these vivid and astounding zest from East Asian with alluring ambiance.
Hazily lit with ample of wooden seating which gives a dark but very earthy feeling. Cho Gao reminds you are walking into an East Asian, Native tea house partly temple like the ones in Bangkok. The faint illumination articulate the tenderness and core placate. Seating is not overly fabricated nor Posey; Some seats are smaller though however, the high chairs are more comfortable.
The service is quick to our table and explaining the signature dishes before we even inquire, which I appreciate. The staff is polite, friendly and efficient. They have a thorough knowledge of the names and ingredients. Also, inquire us for any food allergies & preferred spice level.
Drinks & Welcome crunchies:
First to arrive at our table were Prawn Crackers with a Thai Sweet Chili Sauce and a Spicy version of Soy. This sauce was so tangy and delicious. Next, we ordered for drinks (Oh! this place is famous for its drinks). We opted to choose mocktails as always and have tried Coconut Kiss (more like a pina colada but a very pleasant and aromatic taste). Every sip left me wanting more. Another one we tasted was a tropical storm, more on the natural side, not too sour or sweet.
My decisive favorite from the starters was Wasabi Prawns, these Crispy Fried Gulf prawns with pink ginger and wasabi dressing topped with chili and mango salsa was an ultimate food crush for me. I also tested Sriracha chili version with passion fruit salsa, and that tasted equally succulent. We took the liberty of diving into one more starters. We ordered for mixed dim sums (Fried & Steamed) in Chicken, Seafood & Veggie options. Steamed ones were good. Fried ones were a little bit oily, but they tasted well along with the amazing dipping sauces. Good Dim Sum is a blessing I would say, and Cho Gao serves a vast range of this specialty. You can surely indulge in our favorite prawn, and Chicken Siew Mai, or vegetable dumpling as well in case you want to broaden the horizon for those Asian taste buds. We also called for a serving of Chicken Cha Gio Vietnamese spring rolls; I love the accompanying peanut sauce.
Since our appetizers encounter was excellent, thus we had some very high expectations for the rest of our meal from mains and closure. After a lot of consideration and debate with Mr. K we chose to go through following food run down:
Pad Thai Noodles – The menu is vast in noodle variety too with options of Wok Fried, Mei Goreng, Vietnamese and Singapore with chicken and prawn options. We went with Pad thai noodles; It was a real frontrunner I would say! Very light and flavorful with Juicy chicken, instead of the greasy pile of noodles. And what cannot be overlooked was the crunchy tossed hand grated peanuts & generous portion on the plate.
Garlic Pepper Tiger Prawns – The prawns were cooked perfectly to a melt-in-the-mouth tenderness. Ginger pepper aroma and hints paired with spring onions were an addicting combination.
The Cho Gao pillow – is a new offer presenting ginger flavored chicken. I was served on a sizzling plate encased in a foil bag (pillow) to our table. You may choose options from chicken, beef, seafood or vegetables. It is precisely how they claimed; Irresistible! The spiced and flavorful dishes were sizzling on our table, the tempting aroma began to fill the air, and the sound could be heard halfway across the room. Everything in this item added up to our enjoyment. It was very different yet absorbing concept, and taste is mild enough to be liked by all.
Green Curry – We tried Thai green curry which was among the best I have had, and they adjusted the spice level to our liking. Aromatic, creamy and savory this Thai green curry chicken with lime zest and herb is highly recommended to all!
BBQ Beef Spare Ribs – the flavors of the BBQ Sauce and the honey glaze had a perfect pairing. With sweet soy taste and five spices, this dish has a bold, strong combination. Would recommend this dish! However, all in all, the dish itself was quite nice (especially the taste of the curry), but I wouldn’t recommend it unless I saw some change in the way it was served.
The dessert selection is not my favorite. The Chocolate Samosas were fried pockets of melted chocolate that call to your inner 10-year-old, but they could have been served crispier, although the accompanying vanilla ice cream was nice and creamy. Unfortunately, desserts menu didn’t impress me much as I left the option to the server as well and thought she would bring me best of all options.
All in all the food was healthy and tasty as expected in this famous Asian cuisine restaurant. The thought process behind each dish is very well. However, starters were better than mains for my liking, and I did mention it to staff (they are very open to constructive feedback and dealth with grace; that’s a sign of constant improvement btw!). I am still craving for their wasabi sauce and some Pad Thai. Our experience at ChoGao was all about Asian and Thai culture in food, primarily because of dedicated Chefs sophisticated flavor combinations and cooking team’s smart twist on classic Asian cooking that reflects their creative mind. I am surely returning back with Mr. K for some more exploring at main dishes as he loved the whole aura of the place and would like to visit again.
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Cho Gao Restaurant
Phone number – 02 6166149
Cuisines – Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian
Timings: 12 Noon to 1 AM
Address – Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Street, Al Markaziya, Abu Dhabi www.crowneplaza.com/abudhabicity