Time Out Says
Hidden away among the themed haunts of the Chelsea Plaza Hotel in Satwa, it was surprising that, aside from the Hawaiian shirted waiters and blaring Indian disco tunes, there seemed to be very little that looked Goan in Ambot Tik. Instead, the fairly old-fashioned and formal set up had a slightly Victorian and British feel to it, with plaster fresco arches and old etchings on the wall.
Live music pushed that Goan party vibe, sung to the ether, since when we visited on a Tuesday, the restaurant was fairly quiet (even if the soundtrack wasn’t). It is worth noting though, that among the other tables there was an Indian group celebrating a birthday party, suggesting Ambot Tik is held in reasonably high regard by some.
Looking through the menu, there was a decent selection of seafood and fish, as well as meat authentic to Goan cooking. The friendly, laid-back waiter offered some, if not exceptional, explanations of the dishes on the menu. Warned off the ‘too messy’ crab xec xec, we ordered the stuffed squid and prawn rava fry to start, which both arrived at the table fairly cold. The prawn rava fry was coated in a semolina crust, which was unusual and nice enough to eat, but not particularly interesting. The stuffed squid, however, was very enjoyable, with thick juicy squid flesh, and a nice balance of vinegar sourness and chilli heat in the sauce.
For main courses, we ordered the pomfret fish recheado fry and chicken xacuti, teamed with white rice and Goan pav bread. Again, these plates arrived fairly cold, and everything we tasted lacked the punch of something that has just been freshly prepared. The chicken xacuti, which the waiter had suggested, got fairly poor reviews at our table. While the sauce itself was nice enough, with the distinctly South Indian mix of sambal style coconut and a sour, tangy, fruity edge, the chicken itself let the side down with a poor quality, processed taste. The pomfret was small and a maze of bones, so we managed to dig little flesh off it, but we enjoyed the texture and taste of what we did extract, dressed with the slightly spicy recheado paste.
Ambot Tik is affordable, and the choice is authentic, but the food itself is unexciting, as is the service and ambience. Sadly, despite the Hawaiian shirts and live music, Ambot Tik lacks the vibrancy and spirit of Goa.
The bill (for two)
1x prawn rava fry Dhs45
1x stuffed squid Dhs35
1x chicken xacuti Dhs35
1x recheado fry Dhs38
1x pav bread Dhs7
1x white rice Dhs18
2x mineral water Dhs30
Total (excluding service) Dhs208
By Time Out Dubai staff | 18 Jun 2013
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