All the elements combine to create a subtle gesture to Greece yet this restaurant delivers so much more.
If you’re well travelled as we are at Abu Dhabi World (Yes, we do like to show off, I’m afraid!), then when you think Greek, you might not always think fine dining.
Your mind probably drifts back to Greek-island holidays where folk music blasts out, as Hellenic home-cooked dishes are served in family-run tavernas… nothing wrong with that of course.
Okay! That’s probably nostalgia-overload. Yes, Greek cuisine has become a trend in the UAE in the last year or so, and Mazi only adds to that, but, dare we say, taking it that one step further.
The venue itself yields a Mediterranean vibe; it’s cool – on many levels – and the colours echo those of the sea and sky, which could be Greece or any country along the Eastern Mediterranean coast for that matter.
That’s the point to Mazi; it’s not trying to be all things Greek; there’s a nod here and there, to the cuisine, the ambience.
There’s the sharing element of Greek culture, after all, Mazi means ‘together.’ It is this that adds the casual vibe to the concept’s fine-dining aspect; and here’s where Mazi stands out… all the class yet without that often associated stuffiness.
Old-school soul plays across the spacious bar where low-slung sofas, and low lights, tease diners to, yes, soak in the five-star surrounds but also to relax, perhaps sway to the sounds – just that bit – laugh, be merry… share!
This is reinforced by the dishes served on glazed stoneware or in starter jars. In the latter came, among others, spicy tiropita, broken filo pastry, leeks and chillies… a subtle play on traditional Greek layered pie – with added kick.
Under ‘Salad & Raw,’ the sea bream tartare, avocado mousse and squid ink rice puff seems too artistic to eat but it quickly disappears, a theme that continues throughout the evening.
Signature dishes include wild cod ‘tsigareli’ – a Corfu dish of cabbage with fresh tomato, red spicy peppers, potatoes, dill and parsley – foraged greens and potato cream. There’s also shredded lamb shoulder stifado (stew), miso aubergine, among others.
Greek yoghurt made the dessert list, albeit served as mousse. There’s pistachio and mastiha (a resin known as tears of Chios, a Greek island) parfait with strawberry and melon coulis. Then there’s the galaktoboureko (sweet filo pastry) soaked in syrup, semolina custard.
Oh! Don’t forget the garden…spaciously decked out for a true Mediterranean feel. Winter is coming but fear not; now you know where to go.
NEED TO KNOW: We say: Casual-fine dining
AED 550 for two. The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort. Sun-Thu 4.00pm-12.00am, Fri-Sat noon-midnight. 02 498 8888. Visit: maziabudhabi.com