Last night was our third trip to Pachaylen this year, which should tell you that it is one of our favourite restaurants in Abu Dhabi.

Pachaylen is a Thai restaurant in the Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa. It is currently ranked as number 75 out of 1,594 restaurants in Abu Dhabi on TripAdvisor, with a recent review describing it as the “best Thai food in the UAE”. We haven’t been to anything like 1,594 restaurants yet (we are working our way through them slowly), but I struggle to believe we will ever find 74 better than Pachaylen.

Before I go on I should say that I was prevented from taking any photographs of the food, not by management, but by Jo who tells me it is “chavvy” to do so, and to be fair she is probably right (no offence to other food bloggers).

The restaurant itself is reasonably small with the tables well spread out (although I have read other reviews saying they are too close together). The kitchen is separated from the seating area by a glass wall so you can see what is happening back there, and it always seems very calm and controlled. The service staff are always very welcoming and attentive as well, which is good. By the way, if you do go, check out the lights on the walls. I’ve looked at a few reviews this afternoon that say they are distracting because they seem to be moving – I can’t say I have ever noticed this but intend to check them out next time.

Once your order has been taken the “amuse bouche” arrives. It is a traditional dish, I understand called meang kuam, a combination of lime, peanuts, dried prawns, shallots, coconut, ginger, chilli and sauce that you wrap up yourself in a leaf to create a bite sized package. The waitress will happily show you what you should be doing, and makes a much neater job of it than I ever do.

Appetite amused, it was onto the food proper. We started with Tood Man Poo Kha Onn (crab cakes with chilli sauce and cucumber relish) and Satay Kai (chicken satay with peanut sauce). Both dishes were delicious and disappeared very quickly.

A short break and then our main courses arrived. We (greedily) shared three dishes, Gaeng Chu-Chi Khung (tiger prawns in a red curry sauce), Neua Phad Naam Man Hoi (stir fried beef with mushrooms in oyster sauce), and Kai Phad Bai Kra Prao (stir fried chicken with garlic and chilli). The dishes come accompanied by a selection of three rices (black rice, and two others, I’m afraid I can’t remember what the difference between the two was).

Despite being hard to pronounce all three dishes were superb, I particularly enjoyed the prawn curry, and we did a sterling job of leaving all of the dishes empty, before sitting back feeling very satisfied.

We’ve been three times and I don’t think have seen any children in there. In my view the relaxed atmosphere, and the price, makes this a restaurant for couples on a well earned evening away from the children.

If you want to continue your night out after your meal, you can do worse than to go upstairs to Impressions, the hotel’s rooftop lounge. If the music is too loud inside for you, there is a small terrace where you can have a drink whilst watching the lights of the city twinkling in the distance. It probably gets very busy later on but at the time we were there it was fairly quiet. The only disappointment on this visit was that they no longer offered the delicious coffee cocktail that I had there on a previous visit.

A final note on Pachaylen, if you have an ADCB credit card, pay with that, and you will be entitled to a 15% discount on both food and drink, which has got to be worth having.

If you are so inclined you can follow my restaurant tips on Foursquare here.


  1. Pingback: ABU DHABI DIARY (4) | The Quantified Expat

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