A self proclaimed restaurant and ‘supper club’, Barfly by Buddha Bar is quite the eclectic venue that has a bit of everything: a bar, lounge and restaurant. The setting changes during the different times of day. During the afternoon the venue is a lounge offering shisha, early evening calls for pre-dinner drinks followed by a fine dining culinary experience.
Our verdict: Impressive dishes, even if they are expensive, mixed with fun at-table service and theatrical drinks! A fine-dining adventure overall.
Spicy Edamame [AED 30]: Steamed young soy beans doused in a sweet red chili sauce. A nice, simple way to start off the meal.
Chinese Chicken Salad [AED 65]: Five spices marinated chicken, Chinese cabbage, Chinese flavour sauce. The chicken was well cooked and the dressing was delicious and well balanced.
Cream of Mushroom Soup [AED 85]: A thick creamy soup with fried soft egg, sauteed Shimenji, button and shiitake mushrooms. The price of this dish did raise our eyebrows for sure as it is quite extravagant. In terms of the dish though, it was delicious. Nice balance of flavours and a variety of mushrooms that provided the right amount of flavour without being too over the top.
‘Blow Torched’ Sushi Roll [AED 55/4pcs, 105/8pcs]: A tempura seafood roll. One of their most popular dishes, this maki roll with a seafood centre is dipped in tempura batter and flash fried, giving it an element of crunch. It is topped with roe and chives for presentation and extra textural flair. A fantastic dish with Barfly’s own little innovative touch.
Crispy Shrimp Tempura [AED 75]: Wrapped with kataifi, topped with sliced red chili with spicy aioli sauce on the side. This was quite an interesting dish with a great play on textures. Pieces of shrimp wrapped in kataifi pastry and fried providing the crunch factor, a slice of red chili on each piece gives a fresh, spicy element and the aioli was the perfect mix of spice and creaminess as a dipping sauce.
Thai Chili Chicken [AED 75]: Boneless chicken pieces with cashew nuts, thai basil and onion served with a side of white rice. This Chinese stir fry dish is a good option for a simpler dish that’s still flavourful yet familiar. Definitely a safe option if you’re not sure what to order. However, considering the other interesting dishes on the menu, perhaps you should try something a bit more unique.
Grilled Salmon [AED 110]: 180gms salmon fillet with a lemongrass sweet chili sauce and a side of green mango, grapefruit, tofu and cashew nuts. A well cooked flakey fillet with a fresh salad on the side. Great mix of flavours in this dish.
Tropical Miso Black Cod [AED 190]: 200gms black cod fillet with steamed buttered broccolini and a side of passionfruit miso, kaori sauce. A splendidly well cooked fillet of black cod marinated in a miso glaze that immediately enhances the flavour of the dish adding a touch of sweetness to the flakey piece of fish. The passionfruit miso sauce is the perfect Japanese inspired accompaniment and the broccolini added a touch of colour to the plate as well as a vegetable component to the dish.
Fly Flower Fizz [AED 85]: A refreshing, bubbly drink with just the right amount of sweetness.
Ice Tiki Milkshake [AED 45]: We love passionfruit so this was our favourite. Delicious mix of passionfruit topped with the fruit itself with hints of coconut and pineapple.
Soft Thai Fashioned [AED 55]: A cinnamon mocktail with apple and ginger thats is quite theatrical in it’s presentation as it arrived to our table in a smoked filled glass cloche and was revealed just before being placed on the table. The drink had a nice earthy and smoky flavour, we recommend this for both the unique taste and presentation.
Fly Old Fashioned [AED 85]: Another theatrically presented drink which is served in a skull shaped bottle. The bottle comes filled with smoke held inside with a stopper. Before being served, the drink is mixed around to really get the flavours flowing. The drink had a smoky flavour that kept us intrigued, even if the drink is quite strong thanks to the brown sugar, soda and bitters. Worth a try.
Chocolate Fondant [AED 55]: Topped with a caramel croquette with a pear sphere and vanilla ice cream on the side. A beautifully presented dessert. The chocolate fondant was delicious and oozed out when we cut it open, exactly how it should be. The pear cut through the sweetness a bit and provided a grainy texture.
Mochi Ice Cream [AED 55]: Flavours include green tea, mango, coconut, yuzu, strawberry cheesecake. We chose green tea, coconut and mango. Our favourite was the coconut from the three. We liked the presentation of the mochi domes which were sliced in half and placed over a bed of crushed ice to keep them from melting.
The service at Barfly is split into two parts, at the entrance and during dinner. At the entrance, due to the venue being a sort of club in the evenings, you get a mixed greeting, between the intimidating and unsettling bouncer and the welcoming way of the hosts. We let you decide how you feel about it.
At the table once you are seated, the experience is nothing short of enjoyable. Our server was entertaining and fun to hear. He made each and every one of us feel welcome, gave suggestions and even sold us on some dish choices. His dish choices were perfect and drink suggestions was even better! How do you go better than perfect? If you are dining at Barfly, expect to have a great time.
Barfly is a fine-dining restaurant by day and almost like a nightclub by night. Like a super hero with a secret identity, thats not so secret. We found this a bit confusing, but it does add to a bit of the charm. This is because you can have a nice meal sitting down, even if it may be noisy, while your friends party. So for a mix bag of people this can be a bonus. The way Barfly is decorated exudes fine dining. Bright red walls, large artsy chandeliers and large contemporary artworks adorning the walls. The bar counter had a circular indented pattern with different shades of blue which we thought was very cool. There is also some outdoor seating overlooking the water.
To Book or not to Book
On special nights and weekends we highly recommend making a booking because Barfly can get extremely busy.
We should mention that the mood of Barfly varies based on time of day and day of the week. So we suggest looking up what is happening on the day you want to visit Barfly.
How to Get there
Barfly is at the Venetian Village which is a part of the Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi. The hotel is near the Mohammed bin Zayed Mosque (a.k.a Mariam Umm Eisa Mosque) and the Venetian Village has a designated parking area as well.
Most taxi drivers will know the location as well. If you need directions, use the google map link below.
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/1mfPVqVBTsM2
If you exit the rear of the parking, Barfly’s entrance is right in front of you. When we visited, Barfly had their Ramadan themed entrance, however you will almost always find a bouncer outside at night and there’s a little fountain across the entrance making it easy to spot.
- Spicy Edamame: AED 30
- Chinese Chicken Salad: AED 65
- Cream of Mushroom Soup: AED 85
- ‘Blow Torched’ Sushi Roll: AED 55
- Crispy Shrimp Tempura: AED 75
- Thai Chili Chicken: AED 75
- Grilled Salmon: AED 110
- Tropical Miso Black Cod: AED 190
- Chocolate Fondant: AED 55
- Mochi Ice Cream: AED 55
Total for 4: AED 795
02 404 1951
Note: Our meal was provided by Barfly. However, our thoughts and opinions are unbiased and our own.