Enjoy creative cuisine at one of the Rosewood Abu Dhabi’s best dining destinations. FACT’s Angela Beitz takes a seat at Sambusek…

This city has a lot on offer when it comes to Lebanese cuisine but if you’re looking for an innovative twist on traditional options then Sambusek is your answer. Located at the splendid Rosewood Abu Dhabi on Al Maryah Island, this restaurant boasts a beautiful dining room indoors, magnificent views from the terrace outside and thoughtful service to top off the surroundings. The setting is refined and elegant yet has a lovely relaxed feel to it and it’s easily the sort of place you would come to for a leisurely meals, a relaxed drink or a shisha on the terrace.

Since the weather called for it, we chose to sit on the terrace on the night we visited and the views over the water looking back on the city are stunning. Heaters and fire pits warm the outdoor terrace and add to the atmosphere of Sambusek. Lighting is low and gorgeous olive trees are dotted around the terrace which we love. The waiter talks us through the menu and suggests some popular dishes and alternatives to the classic Lebanese dishes that you might traditionally opt for; all the usual Lebanese dishes are on offer at Sambusek but there are some really great options that have an innovative spin on the norm, so we’d definitely recommend giving these a go.

We started with cold mezze and opted for the smoked hummus which was delicious. This is such a simple dish but the smokiness adds a deeper richness and long-lasting taste. This came served with super warm and fresh Lebanese bread. They have four types of hummus so go for a different variety and treat your taste buds. We also tried the rocca and zaatar salad which was fresh with lots of big rocket leaves, fresh zaatar and a citrus dressing. For the hot mezze we tried traditional kibbeh and sautéed prawns. The kibbeh was perfect, served up with lettuce and pomegranate, and went down nicely with the smoked hummus. The plump and juicy prawns were cooked in a simple but lovely garlic and coriander butter and were a real hit at the table.

Feeling satisified so far, it was time to move onto mains. The portions are very generous at Sambusek so come feeling very hungry if you want to sample lots of dishes. We went for grilled lamb chops which were perfectly cooked, nice and tender, and again a large portion along with chicken shish tawook which came with fries. Both were done on the char grill and both meats really retained their flavour.

If you can squeeze in dessert then we can definitely recommend the kunafa, Arabic ice cream and Artisan Cheesecake. The whole menu is large and boasts so many enticing options which we love. You could visit again and again just to try new dishes – and you’d never get bored.

It’s not hard to see why this venue is very popular and has become a real foundation on the Abu Dhabi dining scene; service is very good, the food divine and views stunning. ✤


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