Market Kitchen at the Le Royal Meridien has been on my must-eat-at list for a while – I’ve attended events there in the past and the food always made a fabulous impression on my tastebuds (see here). But I really wanted to go there with my people (Our double date partners in crime S&A and M of course) and make the most of their gorgeous rustic-chic setting in the day, when natural light adds that soft glow.
A quick glance through their simple menu and we knew what to do. Market Kitchen is all about do what you do well instead of trying to do too much, something that’s pretty clear on their menu. There’s variety without too many options that you would end up struggling to choose from. The Kumquat Mojitos that we ordered were a big hit, just as much as the crispy sushi with Yellow fin tuna, salmon and scallop. The golden-brown crust on the sushi rice added a nice bite to the fish with a hint of chipotle mayo serving as a great introduction to truly International flavors.
Conversations and crispy calamari with Lemon rosemary dip, were both effortless. With a few tables occupied and each one visibly enjoying their food, minus the drama/noise that usual alcohol-fuelled brunches entail, I was in my happy place. Market Kitchen was already checking all the right boxes – airy interiors, enough bustle of activity yet quiet enough to talk and catch up with family and friends. I could easily see us coming back here again.
Star of the entrees we tried was the roasted fish with a black bean and scallion chilli – beautiful contrast of Asian flavors and served with stir fried broccoli and baby corn with garlic and soy. It had all the right salty-spicy-sweet fleshy fish ratio that makes a show-stopper and is definitely THE dish to order on their menu. The portion was perfectly sized, an element I much appreciate as I’m usually intimidated when too much food arrives on my plate (despise wastage really).
True to self, M ordered the simply roasted jumbo prawns with a life changing Papaya mustard – Yup, you read right. I’d never thought of putting those two ingredients together, but boy, how beautifully they complemented each other. The mustard had that wasabi-like zing that coupled with the sweetness of the prawn and ripe papaya, was quite a mouthful.
My Scottish salmon was grilled perfectly – still moist and juicy (over cooked fish is a major pet peeve of mine so imagine my joy) and paired real nicely with a simple soy-miso mustard. Perks of dining with besties meant, both S and I traded dishes half way through and savored every single bite of the other’s order. I love sharing food on the table so everyone can have that last perfect bite of whatever they liked most.
Even the Parmesan crusted chicken with in-season white asparagus and lemon butter managed to retain a delicious tenderness that is usually hard to find. The proportions were right, the flavors delicate, almost soothing really. Like I said before, the over-riding theme of subtlety stayed on through every course. For the quality of food we ate, the level of attention and service we received, and the discounts we got by virtue of using our Entertainer vouchers, made this meal appealing both to our senses and our pockets.
Four spoons attacked our dessert choice – Salted caramel Ice-cream Sundae with crunchy peanut brittle, caramel popcorn and a dark chocolate fudge sauce – and it was gone at the blink of an eye. Fitting end to a delightful lunch, we even managed to sneak in a dose of fast car action at the movies before calling it a day, ready to take on the week ahead.
Location: Market Kitchen, Le Royal Meridien, Khalifa Street, Al Markaziya, Abu Dhabi