The hotel itself is like a scene from Disney's Agraba in Aladdin - traditional Arabic grand architecture, and stunning intricate detail from the doors to the walls. Ushna's isn't too bad either. Situated in the souq of the hotel, Ushna restaurant is a traditional, and modern Indian dream; a deep orange palette mixed with rustic colours is set against contemporary highly-polished silver with charcoal and gold accents, and luxurious seating. Bottles of alcohol housed in a golden screen provide a modern edge and keep it contemporary. And then there's the outdoor seating. Classic dark wood decking and plush white seats overlook the private beach, and the famous Sheik Zayed Mosque. With breathtaking views it is not just a tourist hot spot, but a local favourite.
To begin with they serve a small plate of mini condiments: mint, sweet, spicy sauces and a little chickpea teaser that was a little on the salty side. For a starter try the Chatpatka: sliced chicken with a coriander and red pepper salad, which was a generous portion and perfectly seasoned with enough zing, served on a charcoal oblong plate; how very chic. We also tried the Chicken Korma, which was unusually green, and the Chicken Tikka. The portions were large (we ended up taking a doggy bag home), and the food was surprisingly fresh; the chicken tasted organic and the herbs and spices were clearly freshly ground.
Considering it was the weekend it wasn't noisy, but a busy night. Ushna's is perfect when you're craving traditional, fresh Indian flavours but like to live in the lap of luxury.
Staff were friendly, knowledgeable about the food, and served with a flourish. They were efficient, but if you're visiting on the weekend, note that we had to wait about fifteen minutes before being seated.
For one starter, two mains, and drinks included it cost 280 DHS, not cheap, more a mid-month treat. Note the water is a little on the expensive side: 25 DHS for a large glass bottle that we finished relatively quickly. The mocktails on the other hand are delicious and well worth a try. Their take on a Mojito with sugar, mint, topped with a dried apple was sweet and moreish.
If you're in Abu Dhabi I can't recommend a better traditional Indian restaurant. Oh, and it smells divine.