i’m a mandi-addict. a big fan. but i’ve never liked mandi rice with fish because i don’t think they go well together. turns out that i just haven’t found the BEST fish that can go with mandi rice!
on our recent trip to abu dhabi, we had lunch at ‘al-yahar modern restaurant’ in abu dhabi, on the recommendation of a friend. we asked where is the best place to get mandi rice in abu dhabi and he guided us here.
it’s located near al-jahili fort – you’ll meet a roundabout, turning into a park, and then be on a lookout for al-yahar modern restaurant. i apologize but that’s as far as i can remember! if you ask the locals, they would probably be able to guide you there. just remember al-jahili fort as your landmark.
it’s a long 2-storey building, with blue signage – but coming from the fort you might see the back-door of this restaurant first. be on the lookout because at the back there is a signage too. when you see the back-door, just drive slowly on and you’ll find ample parking space at both side of the road.
the seating area for men
as customary of most arab and indian restaurants in dubai and abu dhabi, there would be separate eating area – for the men, and for women or family. i really appreciate this custom as it would be more comfortable for us without having to berasak-asak with the dudes!
for family area, we need to go up the stairs, to another spacious seating area and a few closed space with carpets for those who prefer eating sitting cross-legged on the floor.
the carpet had a distinct unpleasant smell that’s not too bad, but can be distracting as you wonder how long since they last clean the carpet…
the tents at my favorite mandi restaurant in dubai, al-tawasol still has the best, clean and most comfy ‘tents’, but this one at al-yahar tries to instill that ‘arab tent’ feel by putting up this stripey cloth on its ceiling. the stripey-patterned cloth is so typical of any arab restaurants around the country.
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we ordered our usual favorites – chicken and lamb mandi rice. however, with strong recommendation from our informer-friend, we ordered the fish too. fish for mandi rice is usually grilled, but sometimes just fried. this one is grilled, and looked mighty tasty when the order came. and as you can see, the size of the fish is pretty large!
the chicken for the mandi rice was fine – plainly delicious like any chicken mandi rice would taste like. no disappointment there, yet no wow-factor either. janji kenyang!
meanwhile, mr. khairul as a lamb-mandi-fan reported that the lamb meat was not juicy, not as fresh as it should and was just a mediocre attempt.
mr. khairul’s appetite was saved by this delicious dish of grilled fish. the portion is huge, and looked so tantalizing with its juiciness and steam still coming out from its freshly grilled fish flesh. upon tasting the fish, we both concluded that this is THE best grilled fish ever, surpassing the famous ‘aden’ in sharjah, and even in ‘chalet’ jumeirah. (click on the link to read my reviews on both restaurant.)
it’s all in the marinade – it’s salted to perfection with a hint of some sort of spicy herb or powder that went really well with the taste of the fish. delicious! i don’t do this often (sebab aku mmg tak minat dan tak reti meratah lauk) but i actually ate the fish on its own – that’s how tasty and fresh it was!
as always, a dish of mandi rice is accompanied by this yummy condiment made of blended tomatoes and chillies. i’ve tried many, MANY mandi rice and this is by far the most spiciest of their ‘sambal’. usually it’s just slightly spicy with a lot of tomato taste. but al-yahar’s is really pedas!
also a familiar partner is a plate of veggie – leafy ulam, cut-up tomatoes and cucumber, plus sliced lemon to taste. fresh and in acceptable portion.
overall, it was a delicious lunch at al-yahar modern restaurant in abu dhabi, and surprisingly cheap too. the taste of the grilled fish is certainly memorable – too bad it’s too far away for us to eat it on regular basis! how far? 2 hours away! sometime soon, yummy grill fish!