Restaurant Review – Abba’s Fusion Fare

Having been to Abba a couple of times with mixed results we wanted to try this fusion style restaurant again. One reason is that we have had guests return raving about it. The second reason is we love the style of food Chef Erez Pinhas has on his menu. Originally from Israel, Chef Pinhas draws upon the Middle Eastern cuisine of his home and fuses it with Thai and Asian flavors. With items on his menu like Thai steamed mussels in coconut milk and grilled tuna with vegetable nori roll in a balsamic miso mustard sauce we had to give Abba another taste.

Open since 2001, Abba is located in Orleans on the corner of Old Colony Way and West Rd. just a 15 minute drive from The Carriage House Inn. The atomosphere is very soft with white beadboard and pastel walls, plush banquets with many pillows. Silky curtains hang in doorways. Candles were lit everywhere which gave the small interior a warm glow. We especially like that they had every table and half walls filled with candles giving the restaurant a warm glow. We are always dismayed when we go out to dinner and most of the tables are are not lit looking half closed. Not the case here!

We started with Falafel with Israeli salsa in a tahini amba sauce. The dish was excellent. The Israeli salsa was tomatoes and cucumbers and the tahini sauce was flavorful yet light. The amba (which is Sri Lankan for mango) tropical fruit lightened up the tahini and was delicious. We were mopping up the sauce with our bread, always a good sign.

For entrees we ordered the braised short ribs and vegegtables in Masman curry with jasmine rice and the stir fried scallops with sweet chili jam, basil and gnocci. The short ribs were very tender with a good size portion and out of this world butternut squash. The Masman curry sauce was a disappointment it lacked any curry flavor and was a bit heavy. This is a trend with the chefs’ sauces that we experienced on previous visits. Overall though very good. The scallops were cooked perfectly ie: not overcooked and the gnocci were nice and light, not the usual rubberball gnocci that you usually find in this country. The sweet chili jam sauce was overpowering to the dish. Once again I feel that chef Pinhas could use a little lighter hand with his sauces such as he did with tahini amba sauce in the appetizer.

We were too full for dessert but the offering looked interesting (although spendy at $10.00 a pop) with an Asian twist such as Sticky Rice Pudding with pineapple and coconut ice cream.

Service was friendly but a bit rushed. It seemed like they were a bit understaffed with two people handling all serving and bartending to an almost half full restaurant. All in all a good experience. We would come here more frequently if were not for the miscues on the sauces on the entree dishes. We still recommend this restaurant to our guests who want an upscale, interesting alternative to the many seafood restaurants on the Cape.

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