The newly opened Mazi at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi, shines a spotlight on traditional Greek flavours with a modern take
After a slew of Greek restaurant openings in Dubai this year, Abu Dhabi has followed suit with Notting Hill import Mazi. The Greek haunt launched a little over a month ago at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi, and is gradually gaining the UAE capital’s attention. Bringing something a little different to the emirate’s vibrant Saadiyat Island district, Mazi mirrors the culinary culture of Greece. The focus is traditional-meets-contemporary, which is evident not only in the selection of dishes, but also in the décor. The instantly recognisable blue and white theme gets a luxurious upgrade with deeper shades and touches of gold. Mood lighting enhances the setting indoors while the rustic al fresco deck transports you to a quaint (yet luxe) Aegean taverna.
The name Mazi means together, inspiring the restaurant’s sharing concept, which lends itself to social gatherings with groups looking to spend quality time along with good food. But for smaller parties, the generous portions require you to arrive with serious appetites. We visited on a Friday afternoon and spotted a mix of families and couples. After a warm welcome, in true Greek fashion, we were ushered to a cosy outdoor table for two.
To get us started while we browsed the menu, our friendly server brought us a portion of freshly baked herb and garlic bread. The menu is divided into five sections – jars, salads, hot plates, signatures and desserts – and there was plenty that instantly caught the eye. So we were grateful to our server who recommended dishes that had become instant hits with diners. We were told that no visit to Mazi is complete without trying the Greek salad and so we opted to start with the classic. Prepared with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, capers and feta, the dish is topped with barley rusks for that extra crunch. Complementing the subtle flavours of the salad is the selection of jars. A unique concept, guests can choose from up to five jars on the menu featuring flavourful dips that double up as accompaniments throughout your meal. We tried the spicy tiropita, served with broken filo pastry. A creamy blend of soft cheese with hints of leek and chilli, it also paired well with the crispy calamari.
Onto our eagerly anticipated mains, our server talked us into trying the octopus, promising it would be like nothing we’d ever tasted before. And he was right! Served on a bed of potato salad with fried capers and olive tapenade, the meat is surprisingly light, fresh and flavourful. If you’ve never tried octopus before, Mazi’s version will turn you into a fan. For dessert, we opted to share the pistachio and mastiha parfait with strawberry and melon coulis as we were told that the dish wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet – perfectly suited to our tastes. It packed quite a combination of flavours with the tanginess of the coulis offsetting the creaminess of the parfait, making for a sweet ending to an afternoon with Mazi’s best Greek renditions.