October 3, 2023


Be Inspired By Food

Filipino chef John Buenaventura serves a wide-ranging buffet in Abu Dhabi

When it comes to cafe solutions in Abu Dhabi, the entire world is your oyster. Or your oyster mushroom, if you seriously aren’t emotion the seafood.

Such wide range can often leave your tummy vacant and head full of indecision as you chew about what to have for supper. Mexican? Italian? A thing additional regional? The medley of menus can be tough to navigate, but Graphos Social Kitchen area at Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island aims to give diners with a map that commences at the door and qualified prospects by a maze of cooking stations where dishes from all-around the entire world are ready.

What to count on and wherever to sit

The cheery space is lit by colourful lanterns. Photo: Graphos Social Kitchen

The wide indoor dining room is divided into about a dozen sections, making the experience that the restaurant is even now a cosy put to eat. As I am led by the double doors, there are compact tables on the proper, with wooden chairs and for a longer time tables with cushioned seating, all organized beneath minimal-hanging colourful lanterns. There is also a curtained region wherever diners can try to eat in privateness.

Out of doors seating is readily available in close proximity to the hotel pool, and looks to be a well-known location on the night I pay a visit to. But I am led to a desk in the vicinity of the center of the cafe that presents a view of a fountain outside the house, and a very clear operate at the maze of cooking stations.

Graphos operates as a buffet-fashion cafe through its breakfast and evening meal solutions – lunch is a la carte – with dishes organized in modest kitchens dotted close to the centre of the house. They are separated by geography, with eastern and western cuisine assembly at the salad bar.

The menu

Pad Thai at Graphos.

Offered the wide range of food on offer you it is recommended to just take a gastronomic gambol through the buffet maze to support map out your personal menu. My 1st methods consider me previous an East Asian station with vegetarian sushi and tuna sashimi on display, reverse the delightfully colourful salad location.

Forward of me lies a selection of residence beverages, priced up and organized on a central desk, and an spot devoted to all fashion of breads. There is also a “children’s section”, comprehensive with cupcakes, doughnuts, jars of marshmallows and sprinkles, and a chocolate fountain.

Cafe supervisor Shemeer is on obligation and introduces himself with a playful quip that all friends are free of charge to use the fountain, because “there is no age limit here”. He steers me towards the eastern half of the cafe, in which I find warm mezze, this kind of as crispy kibbeh, and mains including Arabic combined grill, lamb curry and pad Thai, with chefs prepared to serve me a plate.

Meanwhile, my eating partner’s culinary compass details west towards a station in which the part pieces of a classic roast meal are being geared up – the lamb and chicken are slash and plated by the chef on responsibility – as nicely as two pasta dishes. Slices of aubergine are cooking absent on a grill, generating a pleasant sizzle and reminding you the dishes are created contemporary.

At the western frontier of the buffet area is a massive assortment of desserts. All are arranged on a assortment of small phases – from picket bins to a bird cage cake stand – and vie for the highlight as diners move by. The raspberry almond slices are among the additional delectable possibilities at very first look. Obvious glass panels separate the sweets from friends, stopping me from snatching a few to sample as I make my way back to my table.

Standout dishes

An situation with buffet-taking in is that food is typically plated by the visitor, stopping chefs from assembling dishes that are a feast for your eyes, as well as your Instagram followers. At Graphos, team fill the plates for you, but part sizes are still much at the whim of the consumer. There is also a strong temptation to combine and match dishes as you move by – you can incorporate potato harra and pasta in tomato sauce merely to preserve you a next excursion.

That may perhaps spot a greater stress on the restaurant to deliver on style, but it hits the mark with some nicely-prepared offerings. The freekeh with roast chicken was pleasantly flavourful – and the part of meat was generous – but I located myself returning for one more helping of dal palak that, whilst understated, was packed with flavour and went down a handle.

The lemon mint avocado shooter from the salad station also justifies a point out. It supplies a mild, refreshing start to a food and is served in a shot glass, earning it entertaining to drink and making it possible for you possibly to sip it or gulp it down right before heading back to opt for a most important.

A chat with the chef

Filipino chef John Buenaventura is well regarded on the UAE's foodscape. Photo: Graphos Social Kitchen

John Buenaventura, govt chef at Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island, has labored largely in the UAE, like pretty much two yrs at the hotel in Yas Bay. Initially from the Philippines, he follows the culinary tenets that foodstuff need to be “simple, straightforward and nostalgic”. He describes the Graphos menu as “familiar” and states the restaurant’s east-satisfies-west strategy is built to give friends a “homey feeling when dining”.

Value for dollars and make contact with info

Graphos expenses Dh120 ($30) a man or woman for the breakfast buffet Dh145 for lunch, and Dh190 for dinner. That could go away your wallet experience lighter, but the sheer wide range of dishes and probable for numerous helpings mean you almost certainly will not.

Graphos Social Kitchen area is open up from 6.30am to 11pm. For reservations, contact 02 208 6900.

This review was done at the invitation of the restaurant

Updated: April 22, 2022, 6:02 PM