In Abu Dhabi, there’s a huge Indian presence. Sub-continent Indians, primarily from the district of Kerala, are one of the largest expat groups in Abu Dhabi. With such a great influence, Indian Restaurants are plentiful. You’ll find everything from the “hole in the wall” shops with dinners no greater than $3 USD or offering such as Peppermill with modish decor and a varied price point.
Peppermill defines its offerings as colonial Indian cuisine within a modern chic setting. There are three Peppermill Restaurants throughout the capital city; Al Wahda Mall, Eastern Mangroves, and Bawabat Al Sharq Mall in Baniyas. My colleague and I dined at the one in Bawabat Al Sharq Mall after a long day in “the office”.
I’d passed by Peppermill thousands of times while at Starbucks in the Eastern Mangroves or picking up things in Al Wahda but I never made time to stop in. Being a creature of habit, I’ve always gone back to two of my favorite Indian Restaurants, Tandoori Corner or Indian Palace. I didn’t think I could find another Indian Restaurant that could compare to those two.
….boy was I wrong.
I hate that I waited so long to try Peppermill because it could have been in the rotation long ago, and here’s why.
We started our trek down foodie lane with vappadam, sometimes called pappadam, with coriander chutney (the green one), and mango chutney dipping sauces. Anyone who knows me, understands that I’m not too fond of green dishes so I was a bit hesitant to try it. After a bit of delightful banter, and coaxing from our waiter, I took a dip in the “green stuff”.
Neither one of us could get enough of it. The flavor was soft but distinctive. Therefore, being the American eaters that we are, we went against etiquette and asked for more.
As if that wasn’t enough to get us started, we added an appetizer for good measure.
Pictured above, our appetizer, Aloo Tikki. Aloo Tikki is a lightly fried potato cake with gram filling topped with tamarind chutney. Because these had my new favorite sauce, coriander chutney coupled with the smooth filling, we could have stopped our meal here. Between the appetizer and the teaser, we were delightfully full.
We came to do damage, so on to the main course.
My colleague ordered the Chicken Chettnad. Chicken Chettnad is a South Indian style boneless chicken curry with tomato and pepper spice blends accented with hints of coconut. Based on its aroma, I immediately knew that this dish would have a kick. Our dear waiter said, “Only small spicy madame”, well I know that means call the fire department. As perfect as the taste was, because you know I had to try it, it was a bit too spicy for me. My colleague loved it. She said it was event better the next day.
Normally, butter chicken is my go to entree when dining in an Indian Restaurant. However, on this day I felt brave.
…you know, culinary brave
so I went for the Pasliyona Ka Salan. This entree included three tandoori smoked lamb chops, slightly smothered in spiced lamb curry sauce and paired with potato chokha mash. Of course I asked how much kick did the sauce have; his answer, “Not too much”. In my world, it means slightly spicy and I’m going to need water near by.
….. no worries though
The potatoes neutralized some of the heat so I ultimately enjoyed each smoky bite of the lamb chops, the next day.
..and of course
No good Indian meal is without Naan.
We had garlic and cheese naan.
Usually, I wait until the end of the post to give my recommendation for a restaurant. However, Peppermill’s presentation, service, flavor, and value exceeded my expectations. Both my colleague and I will visit time and again.