Dinner Review: Sontaya
“Hurt me,” says our lunch companion when the waitress asks him how spicy he wants his stir-fried chicken. “Like, really hurt me.” That the dish that arrives is both hot enough to blow your head off and also delicately, intricately flavoured is testament to the unbelievable kitchen skills powering this immaculate, stunning spot set in the poolside walkways at The St. Regis Saadiyat. It’s seriously, seriously good.
We started our Thai lunch with a pair of mixed drinks in the gorgeous bar that sits alongside the restaurant, relaxing in the floor-to-ceiling windowed space while taking in the awesome ocean vista. Ambling into the main dining space half an hour later, we’re greeted to some of the friendliest service we’ve ever experienced and a medley of fragrant wafts billowing up from the artful plates of food coming out of the ovens.
Both our starters are brilliant. The traditional beef salad has a lovely chilli kick and sour lime dressing, while the tuna one is essentially a ceviche with added welly – the Thai paste and lemongrass providing the perfect counterpoint to the succulent cubes of fresh raw fish.
And while that “hurtful” fried chicken is delicious, our stir-fried seafood is simply a sensation.
Tiger prawns, scallops and calamari are wok-seared to just the right side of tender in a sweet basil and chilli paste that lifts some top ingredients to even greater heights. Little wonder it’s one of Sontaya’s signature dishes. Delish.
As, frankly, is the chocolate pudding, a gooey, molten masterpiece that we should have ordered two of, instead of trying to discreetly shove it all down our throats while our dining companion is distracted by the view. Not our most sophisticated moment, admittedly. But this place, at least, is as classy and stylish as they come.
INFO: Main courses from Dhs135, Sun-Sat, 12noon-3pm and 6.30pm-10.30pm, 02 498 8888, sontayaabudhabi.com