Teatro at Park Rotana Abu Dhabi is a surprising find. The multi-cuisine restaurant “where Eastern cooking meets Western cuisine” announces itself confidently with large red lettering which can be seen all the way from the hotel’s valet parking area. FACT’s David Tapley embarks on an epicurean voyage of flavours…


Teatro has a bold theme inside; with a large portion of the restaurant given over to a glass wine cellar and a small but inviting bar. Over in the dining room, guests will discover both a show kitchen and live sushi counter. The decor comprising of deep red curtains, Venetian masks and chunky chandeliers make for a space that is part West End theatre and part boudoir, leaving team Fact feeling as if we’ve stepped into a sequence from Baz Luhrmann’s epic musical Moulin Rouge. At first the concept feels a little jarring, and we’re unsure exactly how the theatrical setting (complete with posters from famous musicals The Phantom Of The Opera, Evita and The King & I) fits in with a menu featuring multiple international cuisines. Thankfully, Teatro’s diverse menu of Thai. Indian, Chinese, Japanese and Italian flavours, under the pretense of “East meets West” works remarkably well and much like the Venetian play masks that cover the wall, the food offers the same illusion of subtle fusion done exceptionally.

Much like the stage curtains draped from the ceiling, dining at Teatro represents dinner as a ‘show.’ Take the cocktails for example, presented in truly unique ways – think metal vats, clay cups and quaint wooden boxes overflowing with ice. Our favourite has to be the Downtown Tokyo, a beguiling blend of sake, spirit and ginger. Dinner begins with a pleasant mix of appetisers that included Wasabi Coated Prawn Tempura. A great dish presented in an Asian-style wooden box and home to some of the biggest prawns we’ve had the pleasure of eating. With a light batter and just a hint of wasabi the intricate flavours are really given the opportunity to shine. The sushi selection is also exceptional with the thinly sliced salmon and tuna sashimi making for a particular highlight. Yet it was the Yellowtail Samba that really stood out. A remarkable fusion of Japanese sushi and Mexican soft-shell taco, which in theory shouldn’t work, but with two very different textures, it’s a wellexecuted dish that diners are unlikely to find elsewhere in the capital.

As we fully embraced the concept of  Teatro putting on a show, we begin to connect more with the food. Admittedly it was a struggle to pick a main course from a seemingly endless list of Asian treats, Western signatures and monthly specials. With everything from Miso Seabass to Roast Duck, Butter Chicken and Risotto Funghi on offer, the variety is certainly good, though we did require a little guidance in whittling down our selection. After sampling Japanese during the appetisers, we decided to go for Indian and Chinese for the main courses. Selecting Buddha’s Delight (stir fried prawns, mussels, scallops, calamari and udon noodles) and the Chicken Tikka (tender chicken marinated in Tandoori Masala). Both dishes hit the mark with the wok-fried noodles providing a nice hint of chilli amongst its mix of Asian-inspired ingredients.

An operatic showmanship comes to fruition in the final act with the presentation of the dessert course offering diners ‘The Big Show.’ A sharing platter showcasing taster portions of every dessert from Teatro’s menu! Presented on a lazy Suzan piled with ice and adorned with exotic fruits, the Big Show feels like a Russian roulette of desserts! Rotation of the platter allows diners to appreciate the desserts’ full spectacle and is visually one of the more impressive that we’ve witnessed in some time. There’s mochi, lemongrass creme brûlée, chocolate truffles, coconut gelato, matcha cake, watermelon snow and banana fritters completed with a delectable dulce de leche dipping sauce. Give into Teatro’s charms and you’ll be rewarded with an innovative dining experience. From immaculate  presentation to the fusion flavours, a meal at Teatro is like a trip to the theatre, with each course upping the game and rising like a crescendo of show-stopping dishes. Cue the standing ovation!