A Christmas treat at the Rosewood Abu Dhabi

Crab soup -- Spice Mela at the Rosewood Hotel in Abu Dhabi. Courtesy Spice Mela
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If, like me, you prefer tandoori chicken to roast turkey, but still want to spoil yourself this Christmas, indomitable chef Siddharth Krishna’s winter tasting menu at Spice Mela is just the thing to blow away the winter blues.

Available until January 3 and well-priced at just Dh295 per person without drinks, the sensational menu offers no less than 10 dishes per person. It starts with a deliciously zingy coconut soup with a crab cake in the centre and moves on to two generous slices of marinated fois gras with a small thin slice of toast and chutneys. Then there are scallops with a fresh ginger, curry leaf and coconut sauce and firm, fresh tandoori monkfish.

Next comes the meat – Rajasthani lamb kebab with raitha and “venison turnip curry”, which is really two chunky pieces of venison with some braised (and, thankfully, spiced) turnips and a green chilli and red onion sauce. The sauce goes especially well with the peshawri naan, which arrives at just the right time.

Just when you think the meal is coming to a close, along comes a Calcutta prawn curry – absolutely exquisite with a coconut, green chilli, cucumber and kalonji base. My only disappointment was being too full to eat the whole lot. There are some token vegetables – a bhindi dopiaza. The meal finishes with a decadent chestnut brulée.

Who says Christmas has to be traditional?

• Spice Mela at the Rosewood Abu Dhabi is open for dinner from 6.30pm to 11.30pm and is closed on Saturdays. Price excludes 16 per cent tax.