Coming out of a successful event at the Arabian Travel Market, I was able to connect with the team at Hilton. When the request came to meet up Hilton Garden Inn Mall of the Emirates location, I was intrigued. Of course, here in the Emirates, going to a hotel is synonymous with dining out, but I hadn’t heard of any specific restaurant at the venue. Still, Hilton is a brand I love from the States (the Beverly Hilton being high among my favorites). Arriving a few minutes early, I was impressed by how new the lobby felt. Don’t get me wrong, Barsha has its charming points, but I was pleasantly surprised by the modern decor (and that I didn’t have to stress out about parking — it was located underneath the hotel).
The Garden Grille is directly off the lobby, but my dining companion and I took a seat a bit further back from the main ‘cafe’ section (which I would suggest if you want a bit more privacy). After discussing the menu, we opted to share the Asian style crab cakes and the Caesar salad (with a twist!). On arrival, the crab cakes are served with a bit of slaw and some dipping sauces (which we proceed to accidentally spill — oops!). There were Asian flavors in the cakes, which I enjoyed. The Caesar is expertly presented with crispy kale and…
….wait for it…
White anchovies! Okay, I had to be convinced this is something I would eat (and I know I’m supposed to have an elevated palate and all that). With croutons of pumpernickel, this is one of the most unique salads I’ve had in a long time. The anchovies were not too salty or fishy, but added something different to the salad. I would recommend to share the starters (although they can be enjoyed on their own).
For mains, we decided to go for Butter Chicken (another recommendation of the chef) and my pescatarian companion tried the Mushroom Risotto (with goats cheese – yay!). While I do not claim to be an expert on Indian food, the plate of chicken I was presented with (easily a shareable dish) consisted of a version of the sauce I’d not had before. While I usually don’t go for high heat levels, the sauce was equal parts hot and sweet – with neither being overwhelming, but instead a perfect blend.
Although spectacularly full from the starters and mains, we were convinced to split a dessert. After a quick look at the pastry bar, we decide to split a tiramsu, which is more parts creamy and less parts coffee (just the way I like it).
Having been to both the Kempinksi and Sheraton (attached to MOE), I would recommend a trip outside the mall for the Hilton (or, if you live in Barsha, this would be a great property to be your ‘local’). And I’m especially interested in checking out the Garden Bar (yes, this is a licensed venue!). While the food is on the level (not a bad dish in the mix), I think the service is set apart here. Whether it is a function of the Hilton brand, or because of the management team, I felt very welcome (even if our lunch went well over an hour!).
The cost of the meal (including a bottle of sparkling water) would’ve been a little over AED300, which seems about right (especially considering I took home half of the butter chicken, which Hubs enjoyed for dinner).
Do you know of any hidden gems in Barsha?