There’s a new kid on our Abu Dhabi block, and I am absolutely in love with it! Toro Toro Abu Dhabi has officially opened a few weeks ago, and following a mega successful opening party where almost every resident in Abu Dhabi attended, I decided to check it out on a Friday night.
Toro Toro has become a household name in the UAE thanks to the success of its first branch in Dubai. The concept was developed by Richard Sandoval, award winning chef hailing from Mexico, who currently has 44 restaurants under his portfolio.
The restaurant is located at the posh Jumeirah at Etihad Towers hotel, overlooking the sparkling Arabian sea. Greeting us at the door were two 900 kg white bulls, a signature touch to the Toro Toro brand, and a hostess dressed in a beautiful colourful dress. The restaurant is built with dark wood giving it that chic and sophisticated look, paired with unique accents in the forms of cattle skulls (not like in a creepy movie), colourful pillows, carefully mismatched furniture and digital frames on the walls. Bursts of colour break the monotone of the dark wood, and exemplify the Latin spirit. When I mentioned mismatched furniture – I meant that in a great way. A range of sofas, couches, bar stools, and regal chairs all make up a vibrant collection which adds to the Latin spirit.
The restaurant is split between the dining room located on the ground floor with its very own dedicated bar, and the lounge, located on the top floor, where you can find two bars (indoor and outdoor), and a beautiful outdoor terrace. The interior part of the lounge features a mix of comfortable seating space giving a cozy yet elegant feel, lots of colourful decoration such as quirky glassware, and a bar which is manned by eccentric bartenders. The outside terrace is just as beautiful as the inside, with a vibrant bar taking centre stage. The deck is laced with low seating, high rises, and comfortable sofas for those who really want to enjoy the stunning views of the hotel on one side, and the sea on the other. The deck is also large enough to accommodate dancing, which by the way is something we really miss in Abu Dhabi!
THE FOOD & DRINKS
Since my friend and I went quite late, we browsed through the selection of bar bites which features a nice balance of hot and cold tapas. We selected the smoked guacamole, beef empanadas, chicken tacos and ceviche featuring sea bass and sweet potatoes. Just like Latin music and its colourful culture, the food is a burst of flavour. While I didn’t find the smoked guacamole special, apart from the presentation, my favourite item was the chicken tacos filled with jalepeno aoili, coriander cress and mushrooms. I don’t like spicy food, but the combination of sour, savoury and that hit of spices, literally orchestrated a fiesta in my mouth, and made me smile.
For drinks, we selected cocktails, after all we had our dancing shoes on! I simply love that the menu is not a traditional list of ingredients, rather engages interest through its names and funky descriptions, before you take a sip! Let’s start with the Latin Lover (how appropriate) — the drink is a spin on a Cosmopolitan, infusing pomegranate and cherries – the perfect girly drink. Rio Tinto had me worried slightly from the description as I do not enjoy Tequilla, however, the combination is extremely refreshing, and don’t even get me started on that upside down pineapple glass, mega keepsake (but they wouldn’t let me take it home…). The Brazilian Breeze, as the name suggests was an exotic and refreshing mix, perfect for sundowners!
Amidst all the R&B, Reggae, Pop, House, Rock and Arabic music, Toro Toro has a fantastic DJ playing truly Latino hits including all of my lovers (you know Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, Luis Fonsi), and even better, they have a live Cuban band. Having been part of the hospitality industry for over 10 years, service and guest experience is always the first thing I notice. From the moment we stepped foot into the restaurant, until we left, each member of staff we interacted with was courteous, very friendly, and just pure fun!
The restaurant is in it’s early stages of opening, but is already a hit with residents. I am a lover of everything Latin, and I am ecstatic to have such a great concept at my door step. Although I haven’t yet been able to take a trip to Latin America, I can now immerse in the spirit, at Toro Toro Abu Dhabi 🙂
See you there on Friday!
- Address: Jumeirah at Etihad Towers
- Telephone: 02 811 5882
- Website: click here
Disclaimer: All views are my own and all photographs are © My Pink Diary, unless otherwise stated.