When we first moved to Dubai, someone in our building pointed out the JW Marriott Marquis to us. They said that the hotel was so nice, they had been for a staycation there. Down the road. A five minute drive. There obviously was something in that hotel that was just a little bit special.
We had been meaning to try one of the 14 bars and restaurants in the hotel complex for some time, and had never gotten around to it. This week, we finally had an excuse to try! One of Matt’s friends had flown in from New Zealand – a considerable distance travelled, I might add – and we ended up visiting Tong Thai. It was well worth the wait.
Walking into the restaurant was a little bit interesting. It felt like a considerable walk, past a delicious smelling entranceway (lemongrass?) and a number of private dining rooms. When we finally reached the main dining room, it was a pretty amazing site. Hundreds of red lanterns are hung from the ceiling, and the large windows look out over the skycrapers of Business Bay. Once your eyes adjust to the red onslaught, it’s a pretty neat setting.
The service was very attentive. Probably some of the best I have received in Dubai. We were dining with someone who had pretty serious food allergies, and the staff seemed very willing to ensure that the food ordered would be suitable. Though quiet when we first arrived, by 9PM the restaurant was very busy, but the service didn’t suffer at all. The rather large dining room, which at first seemed cavernous, felt quite cozy once the place filled up.
In terms of food, I started with the Chor Muang, which were steamed caramelized chicken dumplings with purple flower, peanuts and fried onion. These little (green!) morsels were delicious. Best of all, the appetizer consisted of six pieces. Compared to the usual two or three you seem to normally get in Dubai, this was a filling starter.
For my main, I wanted something simple, so opted for a traditional Khao Phad Phak. Although a very understated dish, the flavours were fresh and the meal itself extremely filling. The serving was also generously sized, much like the starter. Other dishes sampled at the table were the Massaman Nua and the Gaeng Karee Talay – the beef and seafood curries, both of which went down very well. They were also nicely presented, above little tea light warmers!
We didn’t exactly go all out on the drinks, mainly sticking to water and the bucket of beer special (extra classy!). I did however try a delicious Chiang Mai Berry mocktail, which I would highly recommend. Unfortunately, the red lighting didn’t really make for very good cellphone photos, so you’ll have to trust me when I say the food was as nice looking as it was tasty.
While not the cheapest night out, Tong Thai is the perfect place to please everyone, and just a little bit nicer than your average night out. For special occasions, add Tong Thai to your list of Dubai dining options.
Where: Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay
Opening hours: Open daily, 6pm – midnight
Platinum discount: Yes, 25% off.