Restaurant Review: Savannah Grill for the taste of Africa on Sir Bani Yas Island

Posted on 02 February 2014 with no comments from readers

You could almost imagine yourself sat on a terrace overlooking the African bush when you visit the Savannah Grill at the recently opened Al Sahel Villa Resort by Anantara on the Sir Bani Yas Island, a couple of hundred kilometres south east of Abu Dhabi and close to the border with Saudi Arabia.

This part of the famous wildlife sanctuary features the long grass of the African bush and 30 luxury villas fashioned as oversized mud huts with thatched roofs.

African specialties

It’s also home to the Savannah Grill with its African specialties like Mealie meal or beef wors for breakfast, or South African Bobotie with steamed rice and plum raisin chutney for dinner.

We found it hard to believe that the chef could cook this well out in the bush with not much more than a humble open grill, although there must be kitchen out the back too. Thanks to ambitious young Zimbabwean chef Gerald Kapesa and his team.

Sadly the venison was off that night as a main course but we enjoyed the carpaccio of the same with a delicate crispy cheese basket in the middle. The spicy chicken livers are to die for. Then we tackled a couple of fine steaks selected from the long menu.

My wife liked her Black Angus fillet very much and I could not fault the 250 gram French beef tenderloin either. Both were beautifully presented with a medley of small vegetables and we had a couple of side dishes as well: truffled mash potatoes, potato wedges and mushrooms and three different sauces.

To finish we just managed a slice of date tarte with ice cream. It made for an excellent meal, nicely paired with a bold South African red wine.

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Colonial-style

Anybody who has been on safari to South Africa would appreciate the atmosphere of the Savannah Grill. If you sit inside then there is a collection of brightly coloured African figurines and colonial-style furnishings.

But the terrace is the place to be with the noise of crickets and squeals as the animals settle down for the night. Above the stars twinkle in the sky though not quite as brightly as they do in the African bush.

Still you are in Abu Dhabi, not that you would really know it.