Abu Dhabi’s vegan options: Where Black Sabbath band members can go to eat

Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler is spending some time in Abu Dhabi and Dubai this week, visiting friends before Thursday's concert. He’s a vegan, which got us thinking - wherever is he going to eat?
From left, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler. Christopher Polk / Getty Images for NARAS / AFP / May 2014
From left, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler. Christopher Polk / Getty Images for NARAS / AFP / May 2014

On hearing that the Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler is a staunch vegan (and their lead singer Ozzy Osbourne a lapsed one), we scoured the capital for places the band could grab a bite to eat that’s completely free of meat and dairy.

Abu Dhabi’s first raw food restaurant that will cater for vegan tastes won’t open until next month, so we sought help from an expert.

The Abu Dhabi-based English teacher Jonathan Turner likes to think of himself as Abu Dhabi’s biggest Black Sabbath fan. Like his heavy metal heroes, he’s from Aston in Birmingham, so knows better than most where they might have gone for a bite to eat in their formative years.

“About half the population of Aston are Asian and it’s full of Indian restaurants, so I’m sure Black Sabbath would’ve enjoyed a few curries in their time,” he says.

To help Geezer and his crew find dishes that would be vegan-friendly and that would evoke memories of home, we called up Evergreen Vegetarian Restaurant on Electra Street. Sadly, the waiter was unable to understand what vegan meant.

Down the road at Swagath Restaurant, vegan was again not a word in the server’s vocabulary, but we did find something on the menu that Geezer could indulge in: two medhu vadas (Indian lentil dumplings) for a pocket-pleasing Dh4. And between Jawazat and Electra, Golden Spoon Vegetarian Restaurant offers many vegan Indian and Chinese dishes.

If the band care to sample the local cuisine, Mezlai Emirati restaurant in Emirates Palace has eight vegan dishes on its menu, including burghal salad for Dh50. For desserts, Bloomsbury’s does a vegan chocolate cupcake; the band’s tour manager can order in advance.

But if Black Sabbath are more partial to dishes from their own shores, the British chef Gary Rhodes’s restaurant Rhodes 44 in the St Regis Hotel offers a selection of traditional British delights, as well as vegan spiced mushroom kebabs for Dh75 to keep Butler happy. If he doesn’t fancy that, we’re told their chef is willing to rustle up something special for him.

But if Black Sabbath are still pining for the warmth of a Brummie kitchen and the taste of home-cooked grub from the British Midlands, Turner says his favourite band are welcome to come to his villa in Al Mushrif anytime, where he’ll happily dish up vegan bangers and mash.

For a gallery of other vegan rockers, go to www.thenational.ae/arts-culture. Look out for our Ozzy Osbourne interview in our Wednesday edition


Published: May 25, 2014 04:00 AM


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