Hoi An, Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi

Fried salt and pepper prawns

Hoi An is nestled within the Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri and has an unmistakable colonial feel about it – it’s an exotic feeling style that I rather like.

Hoi An
Hoi An

The menu is extensive and after some serious deliberation it was finally decided what to eat. Two of us went for à la carte options, and the other two chose from the set menus on offer. Once we’d ordered, the waiters brought us a little appetiser of a prawn and chicken wonton with sweet chilli sauce and it tasted as good as it looked – flavoursome, crispy and generally yummy.

Prawn and chicken wonton with sweet chilli sauce
Prawn and chicken wonton with sweet chilli sauce

I decided on the crispy coconut prawns to start as I’m fond of prawns and tend to find it’s usually a winner when they’re coated and crispy – and right I was. Beautifully presented and just as delicious.

Crispy coconut prawns
Crispy coconut prawns

Before the main was a little palette cleanser of lemon sorbet which is always nice, especially with Vietnamese and other Asian foods that are made with such strong flavours.

The mains we were presented with were equally impressive, packed full of amazing flavours and spices and presented in a way that was also pleasing to the eye.

Grilled sea bass fillet
Grilled sea bass fillet
Fried salt and pepper prawns
Fried salt and pepper prawns
Grilled lemongrass beef tenderloin
Grilled lemongrass beef tenderloin

With barely any room left for dessert I couldn’t resist but to try the  Ginger Crème Brûlée. I’m usually a sucker for the chocolatiest or most traditional dessert on the menu but this time I thought I’d branch out and try something different, especially since I do love ginger. I wasn’t disappointed – a brilliant blend of just the right amount of ginger and a nice crispy top to crack was a great choice and one I would happily savour again.

Ginger creme brûlée
Ginger crème brûlée

One of the other specialties of the house is the roasted banana. I’m not keen on banana in desserts but for those who are, this is what it looks like (below).

Roasted banana
Roasted banana

Overall, Hoi An was impressive with good service and tasty food. I often shy away from Asian restaurants in the fear that the food will be too spicy for me but I needn’t have worried – it was packed with flavours and always cooked to perfection. It took me out of my comfort zone only to find a place I would be more than happy to return to.

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