Today we are visiting Sontaya, one of Abu Dhabi’s most celebrated Asian restaurants located in The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort. Sontaya is nestled in the hotels grounds, set amongst a series of floating pavilions that look out onto the pristine beach and the glistening Arabian Gulf.
Its late in the evening when we arrive at Sontaya, the sound of water flowing under the pavilions and the dim amber lighting set the tone for a relaxing evening. As we enter the restaurant we are taken back by its exquisiteness, the sliding doors have been opened to give the illusion that Sontaya is floating on a bed of water, the moon shines down from the clear night sky illuminating our surroundings, a perfect setting.
As we look through the menu we enjoy two refreshing mocktails, Natura, fresh strawberry, grapefruit juice and rose syrup, floated with berry tea and Nirvana, fresh lychee muddled with sour mix, cranberry juice, topped up with ginger ale.
For appetizers I decide to order the Pan Fried Crab Cakes, four plump pieces of crab meat, dill, shallot, chili, served with lobster mayonnaise and mango salad. My dining companion orders the Pomelo Salad from the vegetarian corner. The Pomelo Salad is tossed in homemade tamarind dressing, crushed peanut and roasted coconut. The appetizers are delicious but the Pomelo Salad is exceptional. The chef has perfectly balanced the flavours to create a memorable dish.
Before our mains arrive we decide to sample the Tom Yum Soup, hot and sour soup with king prawns, lemongrass, coriander, kaffir lime leaves and mushrooms. We request that the team prepare this mild. The Tom Yum Soup is rich and flavourful, we’d go as far as saying this is one of the best we have tasted in the city.
Our main courses compromises of the Caramelized Chili and Lemongrass Salmon, glazed fillet salmon with chili and lemongrass sauce, compressed cucumber, burnt spring onion and bok choy along with the Poached Seabass Fillet in soya sauce, bok choy, coriander, spring onion, red chili and ginger. The Poached Seabass perfectly flakes off our fork and the light chili and ginger flavours compliment the fish. The Caramelized Chili and Lemongrass Salmon is an impressive dish and one we would return for, the chili and lemongrass offer a distinctive and palatable flavour whilst the salmon skin has been removed and fried adding additional texture to the dish. For our side dishes we enjoy Coconut Rice and Broccoli with garlic and oyster sauce. Its refreshing to see the Broccoli isn’t being served with chili like most restaurants, Sontaya’s version offers a subtler flavour complimenting the mains.
For dessert we opt for the Fallen Coconut. This dessert is beautifully crafted, light meringue is dipped in chocolate forming the coconut shell, this is then filled with creamy mango bavaroise, mango caviar, passion fruit coulis and Thai coconut sherbet. A perfect end to our dining experience.
Overall Sontaya exceeded all our expectations, from taste to presentation each and every dish was enjoyable, from salty to sweet and hot to sour the menu offers something for all palates. Sontaya also offers a comprehensive vegetarian menu alongside gluten free options.
With its fabulous cuisine and elegant setting, we would highly recommend Sontaya as the perfect Valentines destination. Enjoy a romantic four course dinner at Sontaya for AED 350 per person.
Pan Fried Crab Cakes AED 95
Pomelo Salad AED 65
Tom Yum Soup AED 80
Caramelized Chili and Lemongrass Salmon AED 195
Poached Seabass Fillet AED 190
Coconut Rice AED 25
Broccoli AED 40
Fallen Coconut AED 55
Sontaya, The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, 02 498 8443
*Prices are inclusive of 10% service charge, 6% tourism fee, 4% municipality fee and 5% VAT.