Monday, December 16, 2013

Dinner Buffet: Gems Restaurant at Cristal Hotel

My colleagues at work and I were looking for a place to celebrate Christmas together.  In our department, we are only eight so we cannot afford to celebrate it grandly as our number is limited.  So we decided to just have a buffet dinner and luckily we found a promo from Groupon for dinner buffet at Gems Restaurant in Cristal Hotel.  It was so cheap!  We only had to pay about 60 AED per person.

Christmas Tree 
Last Friday, we paid the restaurant a visit.  Cristal Hotel is located near Madinat Zayed Souk and New Medical Center.  The hotel was spotless.  It was really clean and inviting, taking into account that it is not located in one of the posh areas in Abu Dhabi.

Gems Restaurant
There were only a few Christmas decors in the resto to remind you it's the holiday season, but hey I am in an Arab country so having a few Christmas decors is better than having none at all.  I was surprised when we got in as the restaurant was literally empty.  So when a restaurant is empty, it only means one thing - food is terrible.

Bread and soup station
Erasing that thought on my mind, I went ahead to their bread and soup station.  Sady, I wasn't convinced by the bread/ornament arrangement and didn't even try a piece as it didn't look good for me.  There were two choices for the soup.  Based on my and my colleagues' review, soup was F-A-B!  Seriously, I could sit there and savor the soup the whole night.

My soup
Then we head off to the salad bar.  The selection was limited.  There were a few premade salads, mostly tuna based, and a few greens and dressings.

Salad bar
I had a couple of greens and tuna with Cesar's dressing on it.  I also tried their Thai beef salad.  The flavor was great, but the beef was as hard as rubber.  

My salad plate
There were also some appetizers such as spring rolls, samousa and fries, but I did not try any of those and couldn't give any feedback.  However, based from my colleague who tried their samousa with vine leaves, she said it was awful.

More appetizers 
On their main course, they had beef, chicken, fish, veggies, and rice, where they provided two dishes each.  There was nothing exceptional about their dishes, but their menu is far better than the one I had at Sofitel.


I only had a cut of chicken with spinach, a spoonful of rice, fried fish and veggies for my main course.   It was okay.  I also noticed that for their fried fish, they did not offer any tartar sauce to go with it, so I only put yoghurt instead.

My entree plate
This was the fun part.  Their dessert selection was divine.  The choices were not that much, but everything was fantastic especially the panacotta, chocolate pudding and Madagascar cake.  They also had the coconut cake, which I did not try, but was awesome according to my colleagues.

Note that rinks are not included in this buffet.  You have to order separately for your drinks.

My dessert plate
I have been to Gems previously and I can say that they had much better choices before than what they offer now.  However, looking at the price we paid, it was a great deal after all.  The dishes weren't like the ones at Rosewater or Ingredients, but hey Gems Restaurant was still able to fill my tummy big time for AED 60 only.

Gems Restaurant 
Cristal Hotel
17th Floor
Muroor Road, 4th Street
Madinat Zayed, Abu Dhabi
Telephone number:  (02) 652-0000

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