Even with the regeneration of areas of Al Ain, the city still feels so incredibly steeped in local history that a visit to the modern and minimalist Olive Tree in the Aloft hotel is certainly a departure.
Bright, bold and colourful throughout, there is a relaxing and fun atmosphere across the all-day-dining restaurant.
Following the on-trend interiors of the hotel itself, Olive Tree covers all the bases with Italian, Asian, Middle Eastern and a whole manner of other options including simple but tasty sandwiches and snacks for the casual diner’s delight.
The food is made fresh and to order, but what is most noticeable is how friendly and chatty the staff are, particularly with children, who on our visit are scooped up and treated to a tour of the open-plan kitchen.
That leaves the grown-ups to enjoy some tasty food including a Thai green curry, which is thick and spicy. It more resembles an Indian curry in flavour, but you can still taste the lemongrass.
It has a lovely homey feel to it, as we discover with everything that we try from Olive Tree; simple but fresh and flavourful.
If you visit during Ramadan, make sure to seek out the signature umm Ali, which is certainly more adventurous than the sum of the menu.
Complete with popping candy, edible gold leaf and flowers, it’s an unusual winner. Creamy and delicately-flavoured with the traditional cardamom and pistachio combination, the chopped nuts mixed with the popping candy makes a surprising, but not unwelcome, added texture to this local favourite.
Much like the rest of the hotel, Olive Tree offers homogenous simplicity with elements of flair that make the experience more memorable than you might have expected.
Need to know:
Location: Olive Tree, Aloft Al Ain, Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium Development, Al Towwaya We say: Simple, no fuss modern dining with the odd plot twist
Cost: AED 200 for two
Opening times: Daily 6.30am-2am
Contact: 03 713 8888, aloftalain.com
WORDS Julian Pletts