Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lunch Buffet: Ingredients at Eastern Mangroves

When the offer from Groupon came out for a buffet lunch for two at Ingredients, I was very hesitant at first to buy it.  I found it too expensive for my budget especially that I also have to pay extra (half the price to be exact) for my daughter who is already 6 years old, but then my husband who has already tried their buffet previously (from his company) told me that it was worth it.  The price of their lunch buffet can actually pay for an overnight stay in one hotel at Yas Island with breakfast buffet included.  I told myself this will only be a once in a lifetime event and clicked the buy now button with my eyes closed and made our reservation.

Ingredients Restaurant
Ingredients Restaurant is located at the Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa.  It is actually difficult to reach this hotel.  It is located in the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.  If you have your own transportation, check this out for the map provided by their website.  If you plan to take a cab, expect a taxi fare of around 60 to 80 AED.

Hotel facade
The hotel facade was such a delight to my eyes.  It is made of Arab mixed with modern architecture.  Upon entering the hotel, a small still pool made of fiberglass welcomed us with roses at the middle.  We were also offered dates and Arabic tea as part of the Arabic hospitality.

Hanging chandelier
Just look at the sofa, it's actually perfect for a queen!

Sitting like a queen

Nice furniture
Then we went inside the restaurant proper and was actually happy with the simple and basic table setting.  No frills, no fuss, just the basic table setting :)  Till now, I still don't know which fork to start with, haha!

Table setting

Salt and Pepper

Restaurant interior
Now comes the food.  We started off with the soup, of course.  They had three soups to choose from - one from the Oriental corner - Singaporean Laksa, from the International station - Cream of broccoli, and from the Japanese station - Miso.  Me and my hubby had laksa, as we fell in love with this soup when we went for a vacay in Singapore.  You can actually choose the stuff that you would like to put in your soup such as spring onions, chicken meat, etc.  The laksa was good, although it was less spicy than it should be.  Our children had the cream of broccoli soup.  You can actually tell from the picture below that my son loved it soooo much!

Note that if you are short like me, you would need another person to fill your bowl with soup as the pots were too high for short people to reach.

Xanti enjoying his broccoli soup
Needless to say, they also had a bread corner, which I forgot to take a picture of, but I tell you this - they actually had the best butter ever.  If my memory serves me right, I think they were serving the brand name Doux for their butter.

Salad station
The salad station consists of a variety of greens along with eggs, bacon bits and of course a wide range of dressings to choose from.  You can make your own salad or pick out from one of their ready made salad such as Fatoush, Greek salad, etc. 

My salad plate
Well I decided to make up my own salad.  When I saw the bowl of arugula leaves, I just couldn't resist the temptation of filling up my plate with it.  Yes - I am addicted to arugula.  Sadly, it's very hard to find one here.  I also took a small amount of chicken pomelo salad, which was divine, tabouleh, which was average, a bit of bacon and a pickle.  I am not really good when it comes to buffets, and with just the laksa and my salad plate, I was already full, but hey call it glutony I had to taste at least some, if not all, of their dishes.

Seafood station
So I took a rest for a while and headed towards their seafood station.  You can choose sushi, sashimi and maki off the rack or you can ask the chef to make you a special one, as per your heart's desire.  I just chose the ready made sushis, as I didn't want to wait.  They also had fresh oysters, prawns, etc.  They can also cook those for you.  I actually saw some guests asking for fresh raw oyster.  I wanted to eat oysters, too, but I just couldn't eat it fresh.  If it was at least blanched, then definitely I would go for it.

My sushi plate
The sushi I had was gorgeous.  It only had slight after taste, which is common if you were eating raw seafood, but it was absolutely fresh, because if it wasn't then my rashes would have immediately popped up right after the first bite.

Oriental Station
After a few minutes, I headed on to the Oriental station.  The Oriental station was just like heaven for me.  The meat, fish, veggies and dumplings were all lined up nicely.  Just tell the chef which ones you would like to have then come back after a couple of minutes.

Peking ducks
They even had Peking ducks, too.  It was too late for me when I realized that they can actually make a duck wrap or pancake (as some would call it) for guests.  So when I came back to get my first order, I asked (smiling) the chef to give me a duck wrap; however, the chef gave me that look like you should have included that in your first order!, and told me to come back after 10 minutes.  I was actually quite disappointed because had I known that there wasn't any ready made duck wrap, I wouldn't have asked for it.

My Oriental plate
Nevertheless, I was really satisfied with my Oriental plate.  I ate each and every bit of it to my delight.  Well almost every piece except for the two salmon sticks, which my daugther devoured all by herself!

Duck wrap
The duck wrap for me was a little dry.  I was actually looking for a much thicker sauce, Hoisin sauce to be exact, that goes with the wrap.  However, they didn't have it from their choices so I just had the light soy sauce instead.

Fresh veggies

International cuisine station

Nonetheless, I didn't get the chance to taste their main dishes.  I was actually so full with all the above that I have eaten previously. 
Italian spaghetti

From the International cuisine station, I only had the chance to taste their Italian spaghetti, which my kids had.  It was actually very good.  It was Italian style, but it wasn't that sour.  My kids actually enjoyed it.  

Variety of sauces

Different kinds of salt
Finally, I had dessert.  The choices for dessert seemed endless.  I wanted to taste all of them, but my stomach wasn't distensible enough to accommodate all these goodies.  I had to make the best decision!

Dessert station

and more desserts

Fruit station
Of course, the best decision for me would always be cheese cake and carrot cake.  I also took some candies for the kids.  The quality of their cakes was a 10/10!  However, I didn't like these coconut coated red and yellow thingies.

My dessert plate
To help me digest my two hours' worth of eating, I asked for a cup of tea, which actually took 20 minutes to be served.  The waitress whom I have asked to give me a cuppa didn't give me my order.  I had to ask another waiter who pleasantly and immediately gave my cuppa.  The same thing happened with my husband.  He asked for a glass of cold soda but none was given to him; he literally had to tell another waiter for the same.  Bad service, to think that there wasn't really a lot of guests during that time.

Tea time
If it were not for the bad service that we had encountered, I would have rated this restaurant a perfect 10. 

Happy, satisfied faces
However, we had happy tummies at the end of our visit.  Just look at these faces!

Amazing view
We also enjoyed the amazing view that the hotel has to offer after dining in.  The water and scenery was so inviting, my kids were actually asking if we could take a dip :)

Calm water

Eastern Mangroves
Here's a summary of my review for this resto:

  • Taste
  • Ambiance
  • Variety of choices
  • Cleanliness
  • Price
  • Service
  • Location
If asked if I will come back - the answer is yes BUT I need to save some more for it.

Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa by Anantara
Telephone number:  (9712) 66-1000

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