Hunter & Barrel Yas Bay review: a haven for meat-eaters in Abu Dhabi

The Australian restaurant opened its first location in the capital in December

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Entertainment location Yas Bay Waterfront opened in Abu Dhabi in December, bringing myriad dining choices, including some first-time names to the capital. Among them is Australia’s Hunter & Barrel.

The award-winning restaurant and lounge cooks up a fresh take on the traditional steakhouse, and the menu features meat, poultry and seafood, all roasted over a coal grill.

What to expect and where to sit

Despite being barely a month old (or perhaps because of this reason), the restaurant was full the afternoon I ate there, with couples and families enjoying a late lunch at the weekend. Many had taken advantage of the outdoor seating thanks to the nice weather, as well as impressive views of the water and location on the boardwalk that makes it easy to people-watch.

The outdoor seating area at Hunter & Barrel in Yas Bay. Victor Besa / The National

There’s an option to sit indoors as well, complete with a private room that can seat up to 12. The room has its own AC and music, separate from the rest of the restaurant. There's also casual seating inside for those wanting to grab a drink.

The space inside is a bit darker, owing to the navy blue and mustard yellow colour scheme, along with brown wooden walls and tables. The earthy feel is on-brand for what the restaurant seems to be going for.

The menu

The menu is overwhelmingly, but unsurprisingly, full of meat options, although there are a couple of salad choices for vegetarians and vegans. Not all options may be available every day; for example, the lobster fettuccine was not on the day I visited.

My dining partner and I started our meal with pumpkin and cauliflower croquettes (Dh30 for four) and a three-cheese dip (Dh35). The croquettes came with a flavourful Parmesan and citrus aioli dipping sauce. The Gouda, gruyere and Edam dip came out in a cast-iron skillet, so it stayed piping hot throughout, and was enjoyable with warm pita bread.

Three-cheese dip at Hunter & Barrel.

For mains, we decided to try two vastly different dishes: the emerald dal (Dh55) and the rib-eye Wagyu (Dh280). The dal was served with basmati rice, a bit too salty for our liking, but the meat more than made up for it (more on that below).

We finished the evening with a baked chocolate cheesecake (Dh55), which came with a scoop of coconut ice cream and berry sauce. A nice choice for those who have a sweet tooth.

Standout dish

Despite our disappointment with the dal, the 350-gram rib-eye Wagyu with peppercorn sauce was a treat.

Rib-eye Wagyu. Photo: Hunter & Barrel

Our sides consisted of mashed potatoes with truffle sauce (Dh35) and grilled seasonal vegetable (Dh28), both perfect accompaniments to the moist and juicy steak.

A chat with the chef

Head chef Kamil Bouloot says the menu pays homage to Australia while also infusing flavours of the UAE. “The focus is on charcoal-grilled meats and vegetables, and inspired by the joy of communal feasting. We have incorporated native Australian spices and herbs, and use only the finest meats from Australia, grilled to perfection over our signature coal grill and spit rotisserie,” he says.

Bouloot recommends diners try a different meat option on each visit. “The smoky steak selection and signature charcoal roasted skewers, served with either new harvest potato wedges or house salad, provide a real meaty theatrical display. However, the standout dishes on the menu are the flank steak marble score 9+ and the Wagyu tomahawk mayora full blood."

Price point and contact information

Starters range from Dh30 to Dh150; mains will set you back from Dh55 to Dh280, with sides going for Dh25 to Dh30 and desserts from Dh25 to Dh55.

Hunter & Barrel is at Yas Bay Waterfront on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

For reservations, call 050 452 5958 or yasbay@hunterandbarrel.ae; www.hunterandbarrel.ae

This review was conducted at the invitation of the restaurant

Updated: February 04, 2022, 6:03 PM
EDITOR'S PICKS
MORE FROM THE NATIONAL