The restaurants at Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island are now open to the public.
Since opening early last year on the sandy shores of Saadiyat Island, Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island has garnered a reputation for exclusivity as the only all-inclusive resort in Abu Dhabi.
The pristine five-star property sits on a desirable patch of natural shoreline, where waves lap against powder white sand and guests every whim are catered too with gusto. Until very recently, the collection of upmarket restaurants were exclusively for the use of in-house guests, but in recent months the hotel’s dining venues have opened their doors to the public.
With so much mystery surrounding the dining destinations, we were excited to secure ourselves a reservation at Aja Asian and Teppanyaki, a venue that has carved out a reputation for skillfully prepared sushi and nightly teppanyaki shows to keep diners entertained.
Aja Asian and Teppanyaki is located downstairs from the hotel lobby and attains the luxury feel the expansive property has so effortlessly created. We enter into an intimate venue and immediately notice the gleaming glass sushi and sake bar, where a team of chefs work with precision in slicing sashimi and crafting intricate maki rolls with ease. High above the restaurant floor hangs a sculpture that resembles the entangled fins of Siamese fighting fish, as if caught mid-fight, the intertwining of colours and textures creates a striking effect.
The restaurant is buzzing on the weekend evening we visit, and we’re impressed by both the friendly demeanour of the staff and the flaming theatrics of the teppanyaki table that is a focal element of this particular restaurant. We also appreciate the concise nature of the menu, which encompasses salads, hot and cold appetisers, soups, from the wok, main courses and sushi. Each category features a handful of dishes, but when they’re as good as the offering at Aja, it doesn’t matter.
We begin with a delightful beef tataki featuring thin slices of tenderloin in a zesty ponzu sauce that set the tone for the entire meal! The quality and consistency of Aja’s culinary offering continue with the arrival of a light and fresh tuna ceviche, combining avocado puree with a chilli yuzu dressing that complements the delicate nature of the raw tuna. We’re unable to resist the urge to delve into the sushi options and appreciate the freshness of the sashimi selection that comprises of seductively thin slices of salmon, tuna and Ebi. The sushi rolls, however, are the reason to visit Aja, and we can’t help but order both the smoked salmon roll and the crunchy roll. Each portion contains four rolls, ideal for sharing and generously stuffed full of ingredients.
Three main courses are offered and include grilled salmon, confit duck and grilled tenderloin. The poultry is a worthy choice and is beautifully tender thanks to the confit cookery technique, served alongside beans, sautéed spinach and soya glaze. We would’ve perhaps appreciated a side sauce, but when the meat is this good, it’s hard to complain.
The tenderloin, with its sautéed seasonal vegetables and garlic butter, is a visual treat thanks to its presentation upon a plate that resembles a piece of volcanic rock. The visual is almost as exciting as the flavour profiles of the dish, and we unashamedly order a second helping.
Saving room for dessert we share the yuzu cheesecake. A generous slice adorned with fresh fruits and chocolate shards boasts the expected cool and creamy texture, while citrusy hints from the yuzu uplift the flavour. Other options include the intriguing lemon grass coco sago soup, passionfruit jelly cake with kaffir lime syrup and ice cream.
Aja Asian and Teppanyaki has thrown open its doors to the public and offers a family-friendly dining experience that is both inclusive and offers good value for money. From the chic interiors to the dinner theatre provided by the Teppanyaki table, an evening at Aja is exciting and memorable. Ensure you make a reservation though, as this Asian hotspot can get exceedingly busy, especially on weekends.
GO: Call (0)2 492 2222 for reservations and more information.