As the only hotel in the world to span a Formula 1 Circuit, Abu Dhabi’s Yas Viceroy makes quite the first impression. Once inside, a plethora of food options take over your senses. FACT’s David Tapley takes a seat at Angar for real Indian indulgence…
Our most recent visit to Yas Viceroy brought us to the acclaimed Indian restaurant Angar. The venue’s name derives from the Hindi word for ‘ember’ and the connotations with fire as a cooking method are immediately evident. A colour scheme of vibrant reds guides diners’ attention towards an openshow kitchen with the focal feature being the tandoori oven (but more on that later). Service is friendly, efficient and knowledgeable 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 is more than happy to lead the way towards suitable dishes with no sign of upselling.
Broken into distinct sections for breads, soups, starters, tandoor, vegetarian and non-vegetarian (there’s even a vegan menu) the selection gears 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 seductively 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 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 menu item well thought out and executed with precision to emphasise the notion of tandoor cookery. The desserts retain a modern flair 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 is 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 flamboyant presentation 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 subcontinent’s 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 Dining Awards Abu Dhabi, there’s no better time to experience the vibrancy of India right here in the capital
GO: VISIT ANGAR AT YAS VICEROY ABU DHABI. CALL (0)2 656 0600 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION