An Evening at Iris (Yas Island, Abu Dhabi)

We were on Yas Island last weekend, and stayed at the very stylish Viceroy hotel. Yas Marina is a line of chic eateries facing the harbor, and is literally ‘across the ditch’ from Viceroy. Our evening soiree saw us at Iris, Yas Marina. Cooler weather is finally here, and we had a lovely laid-back time sitting alfresco, and could even see our hotel glimmering across the shimmering night waters.

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The evening breeze coupled with Iris’ mellowed lighting and rustic wooden architecture made for a magical ambiance over drinks.

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We sipped on Iris’ best-sellers. Hubby had the ‘Moscow Mule’ which was presented in a very eye-catching copper mug. This is an interesting blend of vodka with ginger beer, lime and mint. My drink (as seen in the background) is Iris’ ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’. This is the perfect choice for people who prefer sour cocktails, and this has the perfect hit of lime edged with the bitterness of its zest.

However, my favorite drink from the night has to be their Porn Star Martini. Delecably sweet with vanilla-infused Ketel One vodka, a mix of Passoa Passionfruit and dry Prosecco, you can really get the hit of the vodka at every sip. When stirred up, you get more of the passionfruit pips on every sip, and this adds a delicious element of texture to the drink. It is served with a shot glass of white wine on the side should you wish to add more alcohol to the mix (or dilute on the sweetness). And doesn’t it look stylishly ‘Vogue’ too?

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For nibbles, we went a little overboard and by the end of our time at Iris, we we decided to skip dinner.

Iris has a wide variety of delicious platters, and I especially like their selection of raw seafood specials.

Iris does an impressive selection of fresh hand-rolled sushis, and we chose to have the ‘Iris Special’ which is an assortment of their best-sellers including shrimp, crab, salmon, hamashi, tuna and avocado sushis.

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Here is a platter of the Iris ‘Fresh Fish Cuts’. 

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It is an assorted serving of raw salmon, tuna and king fish carpaccios, and surprisingly, my four year-old daughter gobbled it up before we could have much of a taste! We had ordered the Iris ‘Crispy Chicken Balls’ for her, but had to have most of these ourselves. The ‘Crispy Chicken Balls’ are sophisticated chicken nuggets, and is made from scratch in-house. It is served with a mild apricot sauce on the side, and has itsy-bitsy bits of pineapple on the skewers to give it a tropical twist.

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My favorite platter from the night was the Iris ‘Smoked Salmon’ platter. This is a generously large serving of smoked salmon that is served with drizzles of horseradish, a sprinkle of capers, and a whole mountain of of rocket leaves and very crunchy potato and beetroot crisps. The salmon sits on crusty brown bread, making it easier to lift up a big bite-full, and this dish is a beautiful medley of flavors from the salmon, the heat of the horseradish, and the crunch of the crisps. Will be back for more real soon!

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If you love shrimps, I would highly recommend you try the Iris ‘Rock Shrimp Tempura‘ for starters. These little battered, deep-fried beauties are served in a creamy, decadent chili-mayo garnish and are pretty filling to boot!

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With all our drinks down, and the appetizer platters sent back all cleaned up and empty, we were too full for mains yet we wanted to prolong our time on the Iris patio. The weather was such a treat! The UAE summers are finally cooling down, and a view of the Yas Marina made the setting all the more appealing.

I decided to flick through the Iris dessert menu, and ordered their ‘Fondant Chocolat’ and their ‘Pain Perdu Brioche’.

Iris’ ‘Fondant Chocolat’ is a rich, dark-chocolate molten fondant cake that has a spongy dark-chocolate outer, and a lava of melting, sinfully rich chocolate in the inside. All this chocolate richness is cooled down with a generous scoop of vanilla ice-cream that sits on top of the cake, and is a definite must-try for serious chocaholics!

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I would have taken the customary click of the chocolate lava oozing out to entice you even further, but I got too engrossed in a spoon battle with the family and this little mound disappeared in record time!

Our second dessert was even denser than the ‘Fondant Chocolat’. Did you eat French Toast for breakfast as a child? Hell, I still do! My mother used to serve us these egg-dipped, shallow-fried slices of bread with drizzles of honey and I now make it for my daughter on weekends.

Imagine a more sophisticated, grown-up version of the humble French Toast, one with a posher Parisian accent. That essentially sums up the Iris ‘Pain Perdu Brioche’.

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This dessert is made of spongy brioche bread that has been coated in a rich ‘Caramel Au Beurre Sale’ sauce and is served with a big scoop of vanilla ice-cream on top. The caramel sauce is dense, sticky yet very balanced in terms of sweetness. After our gastronomic meal at Iris, we struggled to finish this dessert, and here I am typing away wishing for more right now!

Iris at Yas Marina (Yas Island, Abu Dhabi) is the ideal location to lounge with friends over cleverly mixed-up cocktails and culinary treats. The view of the harbor makes for a serene setting, and I would definitely recommend sitting outdoors while the weather is still so beautifully pleasant.

Iris also has a branch in Dubai at The Oberoi. The Dubai branch has a strict no-children rule, and I plan to make a visit once I get my baby-sitting organized! At Iris Yas Marina, they are not as rigid on the children’s rule, and the staff don’t mind as long as the children are supervised and don’t hang around past the 9 pm curfew.

Psst ladies… Iris Yas Marina does a ladies night every Wednesday, and you can have four complimentary drinks on the house! Details below:

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If you are planning on a staycation on Yas Island, an evening at Iris Yas Marina is an evening well spent! Please visit their website for more details, I’m sure you’ll love it as much as we did 🙂

Iris Yas Island Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato