I love Indian cuisine but when it comes to getting my fix, I tend to opt for either a samosa and tea from a hole-in the-wall or go all out at a proper restaurant.
So I’m excited to try The Kettle Corner, an Abu Dhabi start-up that’s billed as an Indian café, which sits somewhere in between.
Located in Boutik Mall, the café has a distinct Parisian feel with those stereotypical wooden chairs and marble-topped tables, glass-panelled walls that look out into the mall as well as a few tables and chairs outside the café for a spot of people watching.
The only real Indian twist comes from the large portraits of Bollywood actresses on the walls and the brass lanterns hanging from the exposed ceiling.
A huge coffee and tea station greets guests, so it’s obvious from the get-go that hot beverages are a speciality – the other clue being the number of patrons simply sipping and chatting with friends.
The menu is authentic, with a generous but not overwhelming list of items that includes breakfast, street snacks, salads, sandwiches, wraps and paratha rolls.
The vada pav, a Mumbai speciality, so we’re told, is a great start. Two soft, sweet white buns encase a mashed potato patty that’s battered and deep fried, complemented by a dusting of spiced, crushed peanuts and a spicy-sweet tamarind sauce on the side.
The butter chicken samosa is equally as satisfying: two over-sized samosas are stuffed with a mildly spiced minced chicken in a crispy case without the usual greasiness that lingers on your fingers.
For something more filling, try the Desi sarnie, a grilled sandwich stuffed with an Indian masala mix of potato, raw onions, tomato and tamarind sauce. It’s simple but satisfying, a theme I’m starting to feel sums up the café.
The omelette pav, another Mumbai street food staple, is equally as straightforward. Full of flavour, the dish comprises a fluffy vegetable omelette with two soft, sweet buns, fries and ketchup for a DIY dish that hits the spot.
Of course, the visit isn’t complete without a cup of tea. The Masala chai, a milky black tea infused with ginger, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom, has a tad too much ginger for our liking but is still a great end to the meal.
The Kettle Corner will certainly hit the spot when you need your Indian fix, or a taste of home, and I’m eager to return to try breakfast.
A proudly homegrown concept, this café with its friendly service and authentic food has the right ingredients to succeed.
Need to know
Location: The Kettle Corner, Boutik Mall, Al Reem Island
We say: Traditional Indian bites in a modern café setting
Cost: AED 95 for two
Opening times: Daily 6am-11pm
Contact: 02 304 8227, facebook.com/thekettlecorner
WORDS Rachael Perrett