While some dishes are a miss, the highs are definitely worth a bite — or more.
Ba:TE by Wawa Dining brings a touch of Japan to Abu Dhabi. Located in Anantara Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi Hotel, the restaurant prides itself on creating food inspired by nature, which is served in a stylish setting. If you’re a fan of Japanese and Korean cuisine gracefully entwined into one, this new opening is bound to tantalise your taste buds.
Ba:TE arrives in the capital from the same team behind Dubai’s Wawa Dining. Ba:TE by Wawa Dining labels itself as a fine dining establishment and while the decor certainly has its fancy touches, the restaurant comes across as more casual and cosy. Brown hues and charming cup-shaped cubicles create an inviting atmosphere, setting the scene for an evening of socialising. Whether you prefer the simple seating or want to delve into a more intimate experience, the wooden partition doors, hints of maroon, and floral inspirations set the scene.
The lanterns are a sight, though a switch to yellow lighting from white could enhance the entire visual aura. And there’s a secret green door that leads to JUMAK, their in-house bar adorned with cherry blossoms and inspired by traditional Yangban social clubs.
Our culinary escapade began with a cosy corner indoors. The waiter offered us a choice for a welcome drink, and given the work hours, we opted for a non-alcoholic concoction. What arrived were three glass tubes of a pink elixir, a fruity dance with pineapple notes. While it was a much-needed refreshment, it was the presentation that truly stole the show.
Our meal began with the Beetroot Salad (AED 58), accompanied by pomegranate and feta cheese. And while the deep red and purple hues popped from the salad, the resulting dish was quite underwhelming and lacked flavour. But then came the Korean Wagyu Taco (AED 73), which provided a real kick! A winning combination of soft Wagyu ribeye truffle on crispy nori offered a flavour punch to the palate that left us craving more.
Next up was the Volcano Maki (AED 86) — a shrimp tempura and crab meat roll served on a bed of red cabbage that provided a delightful addition. This was merely a prelude to the showstopper: the Spicy Salmon (AED 79). This maki was a perfect marriage of meat, tenderness and crunch.
Onwards to the mains, the Yakisoba (AED 51) noodles beckoned. While visually alluring, the kimchi flavour overshadowed other elements in this potentially pleasing dish. But the Korean Short Ribs (AED 181) transpired to be a 72-hour marvel served with soy gravy. Now if you’re a meat person, this dish is a must-try because it absolutely melts in your mouth.
The Sotbab section on the menu intrigued us and made us order a Wagyu Sotbab (AED 219). Tender Wagyu cooked and presented in a charming clay pot on a bed of crispy rice was a delightful addition to our spread. This dish was crunchy and furiously flavoursome, with the meat peeling apart with ease.
The Lamb Robata (AED 193), however, turned into a bit of a communication hiccup, arriving medium rare while we thought it was supposed to be medium well. The chef was kind enough to later clarify that medium rare was the best way to consume this dish. And while the chef knows best, we felt that the cooking time could have been enhanced for a more flavourful experience. We were graciously extended the offer to have the dish recreated according to our preference. However, at FACT, we hold a steadfast commitment to minimising food wastage, and thus, we graciously declined the proposal. And between that lip-smacking Spicy Salmon and the mesmerising Korean Short Ribs, our food quota was maxed out — leaving just a little room for the epic grand finale, the dessert.
The Ba:TE Dezato Platter Gin (AED 169) arrived on a bed of ice with Banana Cake, Yuzu Cheesecake and Tamago, along with Vanilla ice cream and Berry Sorbet. Soft and moist Banana Cake paired with a side of a miniature banana made for an adorable addition and the details on this creation were a literal work of art. The Tamago tiramisu within a white chocolate giant egg presented a perfect blend of the sweetness of the cream and the bitterness of coffee. Though the Yuzu Cheesecake didn’t hit all the right notes, we’d say that the Tamago tiramisu in the chocolate shell was the highlight.
While Ba:TE by Wawa Dining delivered on many fronts, the service did have its slow moments. The music, while lively, occasionally made conversations a bit of a battle.
Nevertheless, our voyage through Ba:TE was a mixed bag of hits and near-misses. Those hits though, were culinary fireworks. The potential for greatness is evident, so why not give it a whirl?
GO: Visit https://www.bate.ae/ for more information.