The Hub at World Trade Centre Mall in Abu Dhabi is becoming quite a hot spot for culinary aficionado. Located in corner alley and covering the spaces for its restaurants on 3 levels (4,5 & 6) it’s not easy to locate in first place, however easy markings will guide you. If mall-wander tracker like me, you will find it secluded and cut off from mall hustle bustle area, but I believe this is the best part too. As name says it all it is the hub to most interesting new places in town right now. The great thing is, many of the places are bistros - relaxed, simplistic and relatively affordable (though it ranges in some cases, portions are small too at some but then again it’s fine dining).
Our prior visit to Pizza Express in same vicinity was long time back which half of the outlets didn’t open then. Recently we visited for the grand opening and tasting some dishes as preview The exclusive tasting journey was very interactive. It’s an evening of culinary exploration where we enjoyed some highlights of an Indian inspired menu. This groundbreaking new Indian inspired restaurant collaborates with globally-renowned design, food and beverage experts hence you will witness finesse in ambiance and feed presentations.
Tamba means Brass (metal) which is alloy of Zinc and copper. The shades and hues of golden, zinc and copper décor are well represented within its interior and made it unique and glorious. Exquisite dining and majestic ambiance are the 2 apt words to define our experience. This licensed new home-grown Indian-inspired restaurant has floor-to-ceiling windows; an elevated show kitchen; a chef’s table; exposed Tandoor ovens ( we enjoyed the view on the other side of glass and all that daunting smoke and aroma in kitchen); a resident DJ and a rooftop terrace. We enjoyed following dishes from their set menu:
In bites and nibbles we tasted 3 options and our favorite were Watermelon salad with argula leaves and cheese snow on top. I love the black salt and seasoning taste in this unusual & curious salad. It was very refreshing and the best merger of salted and sweet salad we had. Selection of fruit to keep a par equilibrium with taste consistency is a challenge within itself and they did quite a justice to that. Our second best favorite in bites (non-veg) was King crab puri with chutney foam and pomegranate seed on top. This is one of those dishes which defines the Indian inspired vision of the owners in my opinion. Equally liked by all taste buds it not at all too spicy but still keeping its concoction strong with tradition attire of the famous dish. Crab meat was full of taste and finely shredded and juicy. From outer taste its crispy and crunchy. What a perfect marriage, pleasant to penchant item on menu.
There are fabulous veggie options i-e Mushroom khichri. It has visual appeal with fried croquettes and spheres of truffle with raspberry pickle on top, I am so replenishing my craving of mushroom risotto here and trust me it’s not a substitute, I was so happy with its individual taste and standing of it on menu. Is this a modern take on mushroom risotto?! Well someone who does not belong to sub-continent might think that way. However the base is core desi since Kernarolli rice are mixed and cooked with lentils liquor. Khichri is long back dated dish in that region adapted from South & Anglo Indian origin. In Indian culture, it is considered one of the first solid foods that babies eat.
In case you are a sea-food lover in desi way! This is a place for you too. Their pan seared scallops with butternut squash gravy (salan) and the chutney prepared from scallop itself and filled in flour cigarillos. It is so perfectly pan-seared and glazed that we enjoyed clicking the pics and loved the decedent tang it gives. In case you want to go more adventurous try their seabass with Desi Pesto 😉
Smoked Chicken with honey pepper burrate was the only gravy dish we had, rich in tomato flavor, it is again another hit on the menu. If you do not wish to go for gravy item though still want to taste their tender take on meat try the dry braised Lamb with eggplant salli (crunchy aubergine) on top. It was fantastic dish very composed and infused with best seasoning of lamb due to slow-cooking for longer time. Last but definitely not the least biryani! They have taken health quotient in menu quite seriously hence you will get to have quinoa biryani on the list. Lightly spiced up with biryani flavors and accompaniments, this 3 colored/type quinoa pilaf is surprisingly acted as a great substitute for meat biryani after many other non-veg options.
Then comes the sweet part where hubby has decided to go for the break-up (oh! No no not in that way, it’s the name of dessert at Tamba) with dark chocolate mousse & peanut semifreddo, salted caramel and chocolate sauce. I tasted richness and sharpness of each ingredient which together made the dish nicely bitter on taste buds. Dark chocolate lovers might love the dish however with peanut & caramel it’s even on saltier side however chocolate sauce was not balancing out that density. It’s a visual gimmick and I loved the way it’s been presented, just a slight replacement of ingredients can do a pleasant experiment or may be an additional version for milk choco lovers like me. 2nd up was the bride after the breakup ! (wow that sounds like real patch up). With chili meringue, Chantilly cream, raw mango and coconut sorbet, this item has all the jewels to make it shine out ! ultra glamorous in looks as well as taste, soft flakes and crunchy tides with tangy mango flavor.
In non-alcohalic drinks we have tried Jagger Jam Pot – The most exquisite and unique blend of spices and aroma. It is guava sensation with jaggery & spices syrup with lime juice and powdered cinnamon on top. Cinnamon stick in glass will let you enjoy the flavor and pleasant whiff till last sip. 2nd was Dragon Flower – Bit on mojitos side with orange blossom, elder flower Dragon fruits and Lemon & Lime. Sour in taste but refreshing for taste buds.
All in all it was a great evening full of surprising element, great interaction with the stylist duo behind the Tamba concept and meeting lovely Shalini, who narrated the whole story behind the entire concept, vision and shared their intentions of spreading wave about Indian cuisine which has inspired many and them specially for ages and how they want to share the love of those flavors in the the Capital. They are planning for another venture of the same chain in London in 2017. We wish them all the best for Grand Launch in AbuDhabi.