When I was back in Dubai this summer, I managed to try out many different restaurants because I was on holiday which means no routine and that, for me, directly translates to food party, all day, everyday! Today’s post is going to be about my experience at the Trader Vic’s restaurant in Madinat Jumeirah (Dubai).
The restaurant was quite spacious with a variety of seating
arrangements to accommodate all sizes of groups. There was a Cuban vibe being given off from the artfully messy furniture and décor pieces such as wick baskets and cultural artefacts. The cherry on top, for me, was the Cuban live band performing that made me feel like I was in a shack by the beach in Caribbean Island. To further enhance the beachy/romantic feels, there was a cozy low lighting ambience in the restaurant. I absolutely loved it!
However, the minor drawback was that the menu had me double-check if I was really in a Cuban restaurant because there was such a wide range of cuisines offered. But that’s not to say that the food wasn’t delicious.
As per usual, every meal starts with a lovely drink and my drink for that night was the No Tai Mai Tai. This is the non-alcoholic version of the rum and Curaçao liquor, Polynesian drink called Mai Tai. It had an amazing citrus-y element and some cherry syrup that wonderfully blended together and did not make me miss the alcohol. It literally tasted like some Rum was added to the drink…. And yes, I did double-check if it was non-alcoholic because of the legal age limit there :).
It was like a little gift to my liver and taste buds!
The first main course on the menu was Fish with Miso Glazed dumplings and a Dashi Stock – a stock that was so wonderfully packed with that good funky flavour of dashi! The fish was cooked beautifully and literally just melted in my mouth. It was amazing how well the fish and the dashi stock complemented each other. Served along it were some watercress, carrot, snow pea and wilted spinach, all cooked together in some delicious butter, onions, garlic and cumin. The bitter element that further enhanced this dish was the lightly steamed radishes. Last but not least, the thin and plump, homemade dumplings had the best crab stuffing! The flavour was so powerful by itself, but when eaten with the Dashi stock, it was in perfect harmony.
The second main course was thin fillets of Beef (well-done) that were cooked in a sauce that had a lovely depth and complexity to it. The sauce was slightly reminiscent of the IKEA meatball sauce in the sense that the base flavours were relatively similar. However, the sauce served here was definitely more refined as the ingredients used tasted more fresh and that there was alcohol involved in the preparation. (I had to sneak in a bit of alcohol somehow lol, although the alcoholic properties were obviously burned off).
But the ultimate highlight of the dish was the flambé theatrical element that literally lit the dish up. Served alongside it were some crunchy onion rings that were sweet and beautifully caramelised. The batter which coated the onion rings was so light that it did not distract from the elegant plating and feel of the dish. There was some potato mash on the plate as well, because it’s like an unwritten rule that if beef and onion are served, mash must be there. Right? Let me just say, that this mash was literally the fluffiest mash that I have eaten; salted to perfection with some coriander garnish.
This meal tasted as though a regular beef and mash meal had got its priorities straight and now lives on the Upper East Side.
In the end, it was time for my favourite course: DESSERT! So, I shared a Macadamia Chocolate Cake Tiki because although the dish looked deceptively tiny, it was so fulfilling – both belly and soul. The cake had some macadamia nuts, as the name suggested, which were full of that raw flavour. The dish was paired with a lemon and raspberry curd that refreshing relief from the heavy indulgent chocolate cake. But it was so tangy that if eaten by itself, you’d be scrunching your face like a kid who tasted lemon for the first time it. On the side, was some vanilla ice cream that offered a cooling, neutral relief from both the sweet and sour. Served under the ice-cream was a light and crunchy waffle cone that was made with vanilla sugar which could be eaten by plain or with the fresh cream served below that. Overall, this dish was full of strong flavours and textures which only just managed to work because of the proportions of each individual element.
In the end…
I thought my meal had ended there but I was offered some delicious and wise words…
I’m glad I wore Jeggings,