I got to stay in Abu Dhabi for a week during my first few months here in the UAE. So I somehow got a glimpse of the city and I was also able to visit the World's Largest Indoor Theme Park, Ferrari World (alright I totally forgot to write about that, so watch out for the details in my next posts :D).
Mark has also been telling me about how Abu Dhabi is the richest among the Seven Emirates, with it's oil resources and all, but I must admit that Dubai has left me totally flabbergasted more the moment I set foot on it than Abu Dhabi has.
So when I got an invite to review a restaurant in a hotel in Abu Dhabi, I was really half-hearted. When I relayed this to Mark, he talked me out of the idea to decline the invite, and his excitement was hyped up even more when he knew that I was invited by Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara. He was raving about how he wishes to go to Anantara as he always gets mesmerized by its charm whenever he passes by the hotel. And that already got me convinced to give Anantara a try.
My photos may not give justice but it's as if I can clearly hear how everything in the hotel, from the vast and glamorous lobby to the captivating pool-side with a breath-taking view of the lush mangroves, shouts grandeur.
The Big Brunch was held at Ingredients, one of the hotel's in-house restaurants. We were served with a glass of champagne as we entered and we were ushered to our seats by Nicole.
The entire place was also filled with live jazz music from this duo. Indeed a splendid way to kickoff our journey to a gastronomic adventure.
After we got settled in our table, Mark and I started to check the buffet spread. The desserts section, strategically located just right after the entrance of the restaurant, was a perfect concept as it allures guests to crave more for what the Big Brunch has to offer.
It's as if the choices are endless. There's a wide selection of desserts from candies, chocolates, and cakes, to macarons, chocolate fondue, and traditional pastries and sweets. The kid in me got overjoyed upon seeing this sweet exhibition!
The big brunch features international flavors from five show kitchens specializing in Thai, Chinese, Arabic, and Italian cuisine.
Guests can start off with a selection of freshly baked breads, and a variety of cheese and wines...
then explore the wide range of organic salads and antipasti.
Guests may also choose to devour the freshness of food at the live sushi station...
before delving into an assortment of roasts at the Carvery station.
There's also a section where you can choose fresh meat and seafood and have them cooked according to the chef's specialties.
The buffet spread was so extensive that Mark and I seemed to feel full and drooled just by seeing the whole spread. We can't even decide what to have first.
We went straight to the carvery section and started with our feast. I got a couple of slices of lamb chops and lamb shank plus some roasted and steamed veggies...
while Mark had a meat fiesta and got beef, lamb, chicken, pecking duck, and fish on his plate. He enjoyed everything in his plate except for the fish. He was raving about the roasted chicken and pecking duck.
The lamb shank was divine! It was succulent and fork-tender. It's bursting with flavors in every bite.
The lamb chop didn't pale into comparison. I initially thought that I'd end up leaving it untouched as it was cooked medium rare (I just don't like meats cooked that way), but this lamb chop made me change my mind. The meat was very tender and flavorful. I liked how it didn't taste raw at all and I love the smokey and charred flavor that came with it.
I've been craving for Japanese food for quite some time now, so I made sure to get some when I saw that it was available in the buffet. I got tempura, sushi, and kani salad for my Japanese plate. I wasn't able to taste the sushi as Mark ingested them the moment I finished taking a photo of my plate.
The tempura was ordinary-tasting. What I loved the most was the kani salad. The crab meat and roe sit on a bed of greens which includes mint leaves which gave it that refreshing taste.
Mark and I just can't wait to satisfy our sweet tooth so we immediately grabbed some desserts the moment we wiped out our meat and sushi plates. We had mixed-berry tarts, chocolates, and macarons.
We had the privilege to meet Fatafeat’s very own pastry queen, Houria Zanoun, who personally crafted these delectable tarts for us!
The tart was heavenly! The combination of sweetness and tang from the fresh berries were a perfect blend with the mildly sweet cream mixture. The crust and meringue kisses also added texture to this heavenly treat.
Our next dessert plate which consists of macarons and chocolates may not look as inviting as the tarts, but they were definitely a hit for both Mark and I. Macarons tend to be overly sweet so I'm glad how they made it into bite-sized ones. The chocolates, though plain-looking all have a special treat in every bite as they're all filled with flavored truffles. My favorites were the chocolate macarons and the dark chocolate with truffle filling.
It's been a while since we last had alcoholic drinks, so Mark and I indulged into some beers and mojitos after dessert.
We also got some grilled salmon and shrimps from the fresh meat section to go with our drinks. Mark enjoyed the salmon while I raved over the juicy shrimps.
It's as if Mark still can't get enough of the desserts that he had another round! Yup, he's such a sucker for sweets.
He got some cakes, macarons, and mousse for his next dessert plate. I don't think there's anything wrong with what he got as the plate was wiped out in no time!
I wanted something to balance out all the sinful dishes that I ingested so I finished off with a fruit platter. The honey dew and dragon fruit were what I loved the most.
I've been to a number of restaurants serving buffets, but this has got to be the best and the most extensive buffet spread that I have ever seen and experienced. The Big Brunch wasn't just called 'big' for nothing! It is indeed the best place for an awesome degustation. And I must say that all other buffets will have a hard time in dethroning the Big Brunch at Eastern Mangroves in my top buffet list!
Thank you so much, Easter Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara, for having us! ♥
Big Weekend Package is also available from AED 1,255 inclusive of overnight accommodation, two tickets to The Big Brunch - Bigger is Better, and full buffet breakfast the following morning.
For updates about Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa by Anantara, you can visit and like them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AnantaraEasternMangroves. You can also follow them on Instagram: @anantaraeasternmangroves. You can also visit their website at abu-dhabi.anantara.com.
You can also visit and like Anantara Hotels Resorsts & Spas on Facebook: www.facebook.com/anantara, or follow them on Twitter: @Anantara_Hotels.
EASTERN MANGROVES HOTEL & SPA by ANANTARA
Sheikh Zayed Street,
125888 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Tel: +971 2 656 1000
Fax: +971 2 656 1009
We were guests at Ingredients in Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa and our meal was complimentary, but as always, this post is sincerely written and all views and opinions are my own.