Rangoli is an award-winning fine dining Indian Restaurant located in Yas Island Rotana. It offers authentic Indian dishes with a modern twist of flavors that tickles your palate with a different level of satisfaction.
During our stay in Yas Island Rotana hotel a week ago, we were invited to try one of their hotel’s signature restaurants – Rangoli. I must admit that Indian cuisine is my least favorite cuisine. I have been to several Indian restaurants in Saudi Arabia and none of them impressed me. My low tolerance to spicy food made me less appreciative of any Indian dishes. In other words I haven’t found the best Indian restaurant yet. Is Rangoli the one? Is it worth the try? Let’s find out!
Upon arrival, the restaurant receptionist Sanjeeta was already expecting us. She was very accommodating and brought us to our reserved table immediately. The warm welcome from the staff made us feel comfortable and at the same time excited of what’s about to unfold.
As we walked in, I felt right away the elegant and romantic ambiance. I actually asked my husband ‘are we really gonna dine here?’ I was really amazed because I wasn’t expecting such kind of setting. We got settled in one of the cozy candle-lit lounge table with huge fluffy pillows. I loved it! With just the feel of it and the atmosphere, I know it would be a perfect dinner experience. Very romantic I should say!
The restaurant has several divisions to accommodate big family gatherings or group/business meetings. It also has an open layout dining area for guests who simply want to enjoy some food and drinks.
The contemporary design mixed with tasteful selections of traditional decors and color scheme provides an aesthetically pleasing Indian vibe.
As soon as we got settled, Sanjeeta handed us the menu. She took orders for our preferred drinks. She also asked us if we would like to talk to the Chef. Having little knowledge of Indian cuisine, we thought it was a good idea to let the Chef explain everything. I actually have several food allergies and also concerned about the level of spice in the dishes.
For drinks, I ordered fresh watermelon juice and my husband had a glass of Dusky Sounds Sauvignon Blanc. The wine was recommended by Sanjeeta because of its smooth and subtle taste. It paired perfectly with the grilled jumbo prawns that my husband had as appetizer. Which by the way he enjoyed so much.
Complimentary crispy Indian bread with 2 kinds of dips, the tangy pepper spiced and sweet and sour dip.
Chef Laxmi came a few minutes later and happily welcomed us in the restaurant. Concerned that we cannot tolerate overly spiced food, my husband asked him right away ‘how spicy are your dishes?’ ‘Not so spicy, but just enough for the non-Indians to tolerate’, Chef Laxmi answered. Satisfied with his response, we then asked for his recommendations.
Hare nimbu ka Jhinga – Grilled Jumbo Prawns
For starters he recommended Grilled Jumbo Prawns which my husband was delighted to try. The dish is actually tiger gulf prawns marinated in coriander, kaffir lime and basil leaves. Seafood is my husband’s weakness. He seldom would trade anything for it. So having this beautifully cooked and delicious jumbo prawns made his day. Just the right dish to start off an amazing meal.
Tandoori Batak – Tandoori Grilled Duck Breast
Since I am allergic to crustaceans, I ordered the tandoori grilled duck breast (Sous vide tandoori marinated duck breast, orange honey dressing, duck pickle and orange jelly). This appetizer was so fresh and flavorful. All the elements on the plates perfectly complimented each other. The marinated duck and the duck pickle were very tender and delicious.
Meen Moilley – Seabass and Coconut Curry
For my main dish, I ordered the Pan-seared sea bass, onion, tomatoes, turmeric and coconut curry. I chose this dish because I haven’t tried fish curry yet. The fish is perfectly cooked and well-seasoned. It has a smooth, silky and full of flavors curry sauce that is not overpowering. A perfect pair with roti or naan bread. I loved it so much that I could lick the plate clean.
Mamsam Meriyal Masala – Pepper Spiced Lamb Curry
My husband decided to order the Andhra cooked Indian lamb with black pepper, coconut, red chili and tamarind. This dish blew me away. This is a MUST-TRY! Believe me. Lamb is something we don’t usually eat and if I have other options I will never order it. Not for any other reason, but because my palate is not just used to it. Most of the lamb dishes I tried also had an unpleasant after taste. But this particular dish changed my perception of lamb meat as well as Indian cuisine. I never thought lamb could taste as good as this. Imagine this is the first time I ate a lamb dish that I enjoyed so much and even finished the entire serving. Amazingly it has no after taste. It’s just delicious! I don’t need to elaborate.
When Chef Laxmi recommended the Mamsam Meriyal Masala because it is his specialty, I was very vocal to say that I don’t like lamb. I told him that I’m afraid to order lamb because chances are I will never enjoy it. I saw disappointment in Chef Laxmi’s face. However, he still tried his best to convince us. He even said that he will not let us down. Finally my husband said ‘okay we will try your lamb curry.’ Chef Laxmi smiled. I did not argue anymore and I told him ‘okay Chef, surprise us!’
Murgh Makhani – Butter Chicken
Also upon Chef Laxmi’s recommendation, we tried the Chicken breast tikka cooked in creamy tomato gravy, cardamon and kasuri methi. We actually did not order this dish because we already tried it many times before. But when I said ‘surprise me!’ Chef Laxmi took it seriously and he served us each a bowl of butter chicken. Yes! It was the best butter chicken I have ever tasted. Every time I dipped my roti bread on the dish the taste just gets better and better that you want to dig for more.
For desserts, we honestly don’t know what we will get. Bibin, the waiter assigned to us, came in carrying berries sorbet on a coconut shell. A well presented dessert that we could not wait to try. It has a fresh and smooth texture that your tongue would certainly enjoy.
Artisan Dessert Selection – Rangoli Jamun, Chocolate Delight and Kulfi
As soon as we finished the sorbet, my husband and I thought that the dinner service was finished. However, Bibin came back and cleaned the table. He told us that Chef Laxmi has another surprise. Then we realized that the sorbet was just for cleaning our palate and readying it for the real dessert. After which the real surprise came, a plate of artisan dessert selections. Everything on the plate looked amazing but the Kulfi and the Jamun really stood out. The Dark Chocolate Delight was equally delicious but since it was common, I chose to eat more of the unique flavors that I wouldn’t experience on a daily basis. These are perfectly concocted desserts.
Every dish that we had was faultlessly delicious. Whether you pair it with rice or bread, it was just perfect. I wish I could find something negative in the dishes we had, but there’s none. I even felt ashamed that I doubted Chef’s Laxmi’s ability when it comes to his specialty.
What can I say, the service was truly impeccable. Our food server, Bibin, was very courteous and very knowledgeable with regards to the food that he was serving us. He also made sure that everything we needed was provided right away. I love it when you don’t have to ask for anything.
Chef Laxmi was also kind enough to serve the dishes in separate plates instead of serving the viands in one plate when he learned that I have allergies. With this, there was no way my food would be mixed with my husband’s given that he had prawns.
Finally after our excellent dinner, Chef Laxmi was gracious enough to join us for picture taking. All my respect goes to this amazing Chef who was able to deliver dishes that totally changed my perception of Indian cuisine. If all Indian restaurant is as good as Rangoli there’s no doubt I will have Indian food more often.
It was indeed a dinner to remember. If we will have another opportunity to visit Abu Dhabi, we will certainly choose to again dine at Rangoli restaurant in a heartbeat.
If by any chance you happen to be in Yas Island – Abu Dhabi, don’t hesitate to try Rangoli.
Rangoli Restaurant Details
- Opening Hours:
A la carte dinner 06.00 pm – 12.00 midnight (last order 11.30pm), Friday Brunch 12.30 noon – 04.00 pm
- Contact Yas Island Rotana
Golf Plaza, P.O. Box 131755
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
T: +971 2 656 4000
F: +971 2 565 1414