Lilies

For Abu Dhabi-island dwellers such as ourselves, Al Muneera is a bit daunting. We can happily navigate Al Bandar and Al Raha but, for us, Al Muneera is uncharted territory. For this reason, finding Lilies Restaurant & Café takes some effort. After a while, however, we stumble on to the promenade where all the restaurants are, and we are impressed. This buzzing precinct is an up-and-comer on the dining scene, with several outlets currently open and plenty more coming soon. We enter Lilies and immediately notice the Alice in Wonderland-esque décor. Fitting, considering we feel like we have fallen down a rabbit hole at this busy waterside nook. Oversized white leather armchairs, parquet and wooden flooring, and a gigantic sparkling chandelier all complement the light aqua colour scheme, and we can't help but ogle the novelty cakes presented as a centrepiece at the entrance. We can even let the overuse of the Curlz font in the menu slide, as it ties in perfectly with the quirky theme. The menu at Lilies is mixed, but predominantly it's a Mediterranean-inspired café with sandwiches, pasta, soup and pizza. We deliberate for quite a while as the descriptions of the food are impressive and we can't decide on what we fancy — a plus-point for the menu. Eventually we make our choice: for starters we go for the bruschetta platter and the baked aubergine. For mains, a mushroom-truffle risotto and a vegetable pizza. The food takes a while — a long while — though the restaurant is busy. Finally, the starters are brought out and, as we are taking our first bite, the mains are served too. The food is worth the wait. The bruschetta is light and flavoursome, the bread toasted just right. The baked aubergine is superb: it is topped with a light salsa and melted cheese, and it isn't soggy or heavy. In fact, it's a sensation, and we enjoy every bite. The risotto is also light, a welcome departure from the often gluey texture of lesser risottos, and the seasoning and truffle flavour are both delicate. The pizza is also exceptional: the base is crispy and the vegetable topping is in perfect ratio to the dough and cheese. It's also quite a sizeable portion, which we sadly cannot finish. After waiting an inordinate amount of time for service, we become a little impatient — it seems we are being overlooked as we note other tables receiving decent service. What we want is a dessert menu, but what we are given, without being asked, is our bill. We decide against dessert as we feel the service is too slow to bother waiting for another course — plus, since the bill has already arrived, we feel we're being pushed out of the door. So it's time to leave. Overall, the food is fantastic, we just wish we received the same attentiveness as other diners in the restaurant. The bill (for two) Bruschetta platter Dhs48 Baked aubergine Dhs45 Vegetarian pizza Dhs45 Mushroom risotto Dhs52 Total (excluding service) Dhs190