My criterion for choosing a hotel for our Staycation feature has always been that our stay has to be uber-luxurious, memorable and please don’t forget – delicious! To be honest, Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre normally wouldn’t be my choice for a staycation – I mean what charm can be there in a city hotel right opposite the Dubai airport? In that effect, checking into any of the city’s five star hotels, not having to cook or doing your own bed, a few pampering in the spa and a dip in the pool could be a staycation material.
So checking into a hotel which I visit very regularly for work or occasional dining and then checking out two days later feeling that we had away for a while, does then become a staycation material. The enticing factors here had been the lure of a huge 52 sqm room with jacuzzi and coming with all
its perks (like private butler, canapes on demand, afternoon tea at its own special lounge etc) at the Royal Club wing of the hotel and the 18 restaurants serving different cuisines from around the world. The last factor naturally sealed the deal!
18 meals in 18 restaurants would obviously mean taking leave for a week, so we boiled down to a strict itinerary that took care of our top cuisine preferences. Starting with tasting the afternoon tea at the Royal Club lounge on the very day that we checked in (read fresh cream with delicious home made scones and sandwiches), we managed to visit Yalumba, Long Yin, Sukho Thai, Dubliners and Mahec. Sadly, we missed the very popular Terrace with it’s al fresco dining as it was going to open only the week after.
The dinner at Yalumba comprised of a standard buffet – nothing really remarkable in the menu. We however, had a superb time. The music was lively and the Thursday cheer was definitely infectious. The diners here were clearly regulars and it seemed to be a popular venue for groups celebrating special occasions. These are great pointers for restaurants, specially in Dubai where hotels are launching restaurants by the dozens and revamping
What strikes out about Yalumba are the breakfast that we had on both the days of our stay. Vibrant sunshine filtering through the window panes and good hearty breakfasts – what else does one want waking up in a vacation morning? It has a tropical island feel in there and combined with warm staff, live cooking stations doling out all the things kids love – namely pancakes and waffles (and icecreams and a chocolate fountain!), fresh baked croissants and jam pastries, the lavish breakfast gets full marks from us. The Chef even offered to make ‘puri-bhaji’ the next day when he heard that I was craving for some, although it was nowhere in the menu. For breakfast I have only one thing to say now… Yeah Yalumba!
The themed bubbly Friday Brunch seems to be a popular choice too and also offers a lunch buffet with à la carte options. Halloween, House of Horror is back on 30th
October. - www.yalumba-dubai.com
Long Yin is a showcase of traditional Cantonese & Schezwan at its very best, with again a lot of regular diners who have been visiting the restaurant for a long time. The highlight of our lunch was the Wasabi prawn from the Friday special Dim Sum lunch – Chef George Chee’s signature dish here. The dedicated Dim Sum menu offers a mind-boggling varieties of 34 fried and steamed dim sums including a variety of sio mai.
We started with soups, choosing a scallop and crabmeat soup (spicy), and a seafood soup with asparagus, before going nose dive on to the Dim Sums. A barbecued Peking duck with pancake and hoi sin sauce followed soon after.
Here, one can opt for the ‘catch of the day’ from the live fish tank, namely live Hammour, Australian Lobster and live crabs and have it prepared in the manner and sauce of one’s choice – batter fried served with sweet and sour sauce or with black bean sauce; deep-fried with spring onion ginger sauce or with Szechuan chili sauce; sautéed with spicy X.O. sauce or Singaporean chili sauce. For our Mains, we ordered a Szechuan styled sauteed lobster and ‘Kong po style’ stir-fried diced chicken accomapnied by ‘Yong chow style’ fried rice with chicken and shrimps.
Apart from the Sea Bass promotion, the Clams and Mussels promotion is also on throughout October.- www.sukhothai-dubai.comoptions
The earliest memories of Sukho Thai that I have dates back to a decade back when we had first shifted to Dubai. I have very fond memories of this place and consider Sukho Thai as offering one of the best fine dining experiences in Dubai for Thai food.
Inspired from the Sukhothai period, the restaurant offers both à la carte and set menu options. We started with ‘Khong Wang Sukhothai’ – the Sukhothai appetizer selection comprising of chicken pandan, chicken dumpling, fish cake, chicken satay, prawn lemongrass and crabmeat. This is a great option for someone to sample taste from the elaborate menu.
Throughout the months of September and October, there is a Seabass Promotion going on where Chef Supachai has created a variety of dishes using Sea Bass in various cooking styles: grilled marinated whole Sea Bass in Thai sauce; steamed whole Sea Bass with soya sauce, ginger, mushroom and spring onion; steamed whole Sea Bass in lime dressing; deep-fried whole Sea Bass in Sukhothai style; Tom Yum hot pot Sea Bass; and finally deep-fried whole Sea Bass topped with mango and Thai Herbs. We chose the steamed Sea Bass in lime dressing and it was absolutely sublime. This was followed by a 800 gm lobster cooked in Thai red sauce. Again, a delicous creation, the spices adding the extra zest.
Friday Brunch at Mahec
This is one desi brunch that doesn’t hurt the wallet but overfills the tummy. The word Mahec means flavours and also forms the acronym – Modern Authentic Hindustani Evolved Cuisine. Definitely sounds good.
And tastes even better. Starting from a chaat counter and a live Pani Puri station perched on a traditional cart and finishing off with kulfis set in matkas, this is desi binging to the hilt! After the chaat session of Dahi Bhallas, Sev Puri, Papri Chaat comes the Starters – Tandoori Cheese Brocolli, Hara Bhara Kabab, Chicken, Mutton Sheekhs and Botis. This was followed by an elaborate traditional North Indian tray brought to the table complete with Dal Makhni, different types of Naans, Dum Pakht Biryani, Butter Chicken (of course!), Amritsari fish and more. The higest starry dishes? The authentic momos – both steamed & pan fried, served with the tangy chilli sauce!
The offerings at various outlets this season:
- Casa Mia, the Italian outlet participates in the Italian World Cuisine Summit (26-30 October, 2015) with the presence of Chef Roberto Franzin (of Michelin Star fame) who owns La Taverna restaurant in Italy.
- Halloween Drunch in Warehouse 30th October
- AL Fresco Dining is BACK at the Bistro’s, long Yin, Dubliner’s, Sukhothai, Casa Mia, Kiku and Seafood Market.
We walked into Dubliners while a match from the Rugby world cup still in session and what an electrifying vibe this place had! With a glass ceiling overhead bringing the al fresco dining indoors alibi a more comfortable airconditioned set up, the atmosphere was laid back and filled with gaiety. We placed our orders and what we didn’t anticpate was that the portion sizes were huge! The chicken wings served in wired baskets and the wooden park type benches lent a picnic feel to our lunch. The chicken caeser salad, the steak with mashed potatoes and gravy, the bangers and mash – think delicious comfort food and big appetite. After sundown, the mood changes in Dubliners, so does if you choose to sit indoors in the bar lounge the decor of which resembles a traditional Irish pub.
Draped in whites, 52 sqm Royal Club Rooms are the best and largest rooms in the property and the long walk from the property’s old wings which housed some of the restaurants only helped in increasing our appetites. The real luxury comes in the form of a jacuzzi and a rainshower in the adjoining bathroom. Tea, coffee, and fresh juices are served throughout the day with complimentary cocktails and canapés from 6pm to 8pm. The rooftop swimming pool with inbuilt jacuzzi is the perfect sunset venue against the stunning Dubai skyline.
Anything that could have improved our staying experience? Probably an access to an outdoor space – for example a private garden with the luxury of the Royal Cub rooms!- For more info: www.leroyalmeridien-dubai.com