Gochiso brunch at: Koi Restaurant & Lounge, The Collection, St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi

Calamari Salad from Koi Restaurant & Lounge. courtesy Koi Restaurant & Lounge.
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The location

In the St Regis's suave dining and nightlife area The Collection, Koi might be a little trek out of town for anybody who doesn't already live on Saadiyat Island, but that rarely seems to affect its footfall. That's probably because spending the entire evening here is worth the journey, thanks to a smartly dimmed interior and classy ambiance – the attractive terrace also proves popular during our visit. Either are perfect bases for this new Saturday evening brunch, tangentially related to Koi's Thursday night supper club. It runs at a slightly unusual time-slot (5pm to 8pm), which puts it in something of a class of its own from the get-go.

The atmosphere

Not surprisingly, the feel of a Saturday evening brunch is rather different from the all-you-can-eat dash of Friday afternoon efforts. Accordingly, as per Koi’s operations on most other days of the week, there’s agreeable lounge beats and plenty of well-dressed patrons, but nothing approaching hedonism.

The food

Some crucial advice: go to Koi ravenously hungry, because otherwise you will have no chance of getting close to sampling the entire set menu of Asian delights. There’s a heavy Japanese lean to many of the sharing plates, which are delivered to your table in batches (starters, sashimi, maki rolls, tempura, plus platters of mains courses and desserts). The fried calamari salad with tofu dressing is probably the most imaginative starter, while the spicy grilled chicken wings with umami mayo might seem a touch out of place – and will ruin any attempts at elegant eating – but they’re a delicious twist nonetheless. No expense is spared in the mains, meanwhile, with a double helping of miso-marinated black cod, upping the packages’ value for money. The nasi goreng is about as good an example of the South East Asian rice dish as you’re likely to sample in Abu Dhabi, too.

Who’s it best for?

Couples and those who want to wind down the weekend in a sophisticated setting.

The verdict

An alternative evening-brunch niche-filler that offers plenty of dining delights for your dirhams.

The National was a guest of the restaurant.

• Saturdays 5pm to 8pm. From Dh295 to Dh495 per person. Koi Restaurant & Lounge, The Collection, St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi. Reservations 04 432 3232.