Restaurant Review:
Cafe Mandarina

Mandara Equestrian Club
Al Shahama, Abu Dhabi

One of the major highlights of lunching at Café Mandarina is its inimitability, whether in terms of location, ambiance or décor! Once you seek out the bright and spacious restaurant; yes you’ll have to use your GPS, but other than a few quick turns, the restaurant is neither out of the way nor tough to find. We were visiting from Dubai and it took us no more than 50 minutes to an hour to arrive at our destination. And what a pleasant sight awaited us; a properly paved parking lot that led the way to a formal two storey building which further looked out into the stables! Yes, you read it right, the restaurant is surrounded by stables. So, Café Mandarina, is the brainchild of the lovely Juwayryah who, on her own property, has created a cozy eatery with indoor and outdoor seating that offer pleasing views of her stables and a showjumping arena. So you can feast on the food while feasting on the view! Café Mandarina is adorned in elegant chandeliers, pretty furniture, stylish drapes and everything else that gives you the feeling of being sat in a quaint Victorian café.  With regard to the food, whether you’re in the mood for breakfast, lunch, brunch or just a simple salad, Café Mandarina has got you covered. Here is everything we had at our recent tasting:

  • Mandarina’s Avocado Toast Served With A Side Of Homemade Red Pesto, Egg And Feta Cheese
  • Egg Chackchouka With Barbecued Capsicum, Tomatoes And Garlic (You Can Add Soujok If You’d Like)
  • French Toast: Homemade Brioche Bread Topped With Banana And Salted Caramel Sauce And A Side Of Yoghurt And Honey
  • Raclette: Melted Swiss Cheese And Baby Potato
  • Healthy Curried Chicken Wrap: Cajun Chicken With Yoghurt Mayo Sauce Served In A Tortilla. Came With Air-Fried French Fries.
  • Vanilla Milkshake
  • Flamingo: Watermelon, Lime And Mint

We got through the vast menu with some help from Juwayryah herself and really appreciated her passion and knowledge about the food on offer. The dishes are well thought out and a nice mix of dishes from the Middle East and abroad. We thoroughly enjoyed our luncheon that comprised of breakfast items as well and could taste the freshness in the food. We will be adding Café M’s Chakchouka to our list of favorites and the Avocado toast was a nice healthy treat as well, especially with the addition of Feta cheese! However, if there is one dish that requires lines and lines of admiration and acclaim, it’s the raclette! Originating in Switzerland, Raclette is essentially melted cheese that is paired with bread and potatoes. This particular item has been making waves on social media lately due to restaurants adopting it on their menus and we have tried it on a couple of our trips abroad, but never in the UAE. This was our first Raclette here and we could not get enough! Right from the presentation to the taste, everything was top notch and we wished we had ordered multiple of the same! We were tearfully bidding the raclette farewell as we took the last bite and wished we had much more room in our stomachs to be able to have a few more of these. We can’t wait for the weather to get better so we could enjoy the Raclette sitting outdoors with a view of the horses.

The rich, saucy French toast served as dessert and a fitting one it was. Alas, there is only so much our stomachs could accommodate and so we had to give the fluffy cakes on display a miss this time around but not without the promise that we’d be returning to try them very soon! We have our hearts set on the carrot cakes and baked cheesecakes when we revisit the restaurant.

All we want to end with is that plug the coordinates in your GPS and take a little road trip off the beaten path to Café Mandarina, neither you nor your stomach will regret it (especially with that irresistible Raclette on the menu).
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