Set along the tranquil water’s edge, overlooking Abu Dhabi’s beautiful Grand Mosque, Ushna is a little piece of vibrant India brought right to the heart of Abu Dhabi.
The team behind Ushna pride themselves on providing a complete culinary “experience” to their guests and on arrival you can see that they have been successful with their ‘wall of fame’ boasting accolades received every year since its opening in 2009, including a Time Out Abu Dhabi’s restaurant award four years in a row, and it’s easy to understand why. Chef Sandeep Ail has gone to great lengths to offer a menu that incorporates both northern and southern Indian influences, using traditional cooking methods and ingredients.
Your evening begins with an amuse bouche, which is changed on a daily basis and served on a banana leaf to release the enticing aroma. Having been lucky enough to taste much of the menu, I can highly recommend requesting a mixed platter to start. This mini feast arrives with a lid, which when lifted releases a kaleidoscope of flavours present in every mouthful – although be warned not to fill up to quickly on your first course, as what’s ahead of you is worth saving room for! For those of you wanting a bit of a modern fusion, Chef Sandeep Ail has covered all bases and the Tandoori Apple, Bocconcini and Rocca Salad is a refreshing treat for your palate.
An extensive menu of traditional breads and rice accompanies a variety of mains offering food from those cooked in a traditional tandoor, to plates such as Gosht Khada Masala, mutton simmered for four hours with tomato, ginger and whole spices which simply melts in your mouth.
The only thing to surpass the food is the service that you receive, from your warm welcome, to tentative but not over bearing personal table service, it makes for an exceptional experience. If you’re lucky enough to be served by Basanta, you’ll leave feeling that you have learned a little about the food you’re eating and the Indian culture that he so richly represents. An incredibly passionate host, he offers charming hospitality for all those that dine with him.
For those dining inside, the restaurant offers both the exclusivity required for business meetings and the intimacy desired for a romantic dinner on relaxing swing seats. During the winter’s wonderful temperate months, Ushna has an expansive outdoor terrace for guests. For a prime location, request table 54 which is set with the best view of the mosque the restaurant has to offer. In conjunction with such flavoursome food and their standout service, you’re in for an ideal culinary experience.
Must Have Dishes: Tandoori Jhinga (jumbo shrimp marinated with fresh herbs and carom seeds), Chanezi Chaamp (Australian lamb chop, smoked in the tandoor) Gobhi ki Subzi (Home-style cauliflower florets and peas tossed with fresh herbs and cumin) Malai Pista Kulfi (Indian home-made frozen dessert of condensed milk, cardamom powder and pistachios.