Sticks & Soy at: Iris Yas Island, Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi

Sticks & soy at Iris. Courtesy Iris
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The location

Overlooking the Yas Viceroy, Yas Marina Circuit and the marina’s shiny boat collection, Iris’s terrace is arguably the most agreeable spot in this corner of Yas Island. There are plenty of tables packed into the space, although it’s a rare night that Iris isn’t at least bustling – Sundays, the evening for this regular Japanese-food-themed night, seem to be no exception.

The atmosphere

It’s a sophisticated hubbub at Iris, with a DJ keeping the off-kilter house and assorted restrained dance-music tunes coming. The crowd is, as per Iris’s usual clientele, full of a few showy peacocks, particularly for a Sunday night, but generally speaking, everybody is here in fairly self-contained groups or couples, leaving you to enjoy the food without interruption.

The food

The open set menu, which costs a very reasonable Dh110 per head, includes soups and salads, maki rolls, sushi and gunkan, plus a dessert of mochi ice cream. We’re brought a generous tray of maki, sushi and gunkan – the highlights of which are rock shrimp tempura maki and some juicy summer mango rolls (stuffed with crab, cucumber, Japanese mayo and tobiko – flying-fish roe). The service could be a mite more responsive, but considering the bar is busy and all the waiters seem to be scurrying around frantically, at least it’s not down to a lack of effort.

Who’s it best for?

Party people on the look out for a pre-night-out meal that won’t send them to sleep and couples who want to sample the glamour of Yas Marina without worrying their bank managers.

The verdict

You will be hard pressed to get this much Japanese food for your money elsewhere in Abu Dhabi – it’s excellent value, but without skimping on quality.

The National was a guest of the restaurant.

Sundays 7pm to midnight. Dh110 per person. Iris Yas Island, Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi. Reservations 055 160 5636.