HOI AN Re-Opens With New Tantalizing Menu

hile dining out could be a challenge in this unprecedented time and when opportunity arises, we chose wisely and shrewdly especially when there are more and more competitive options to choose from. After a year of closure, the re-opening of Hoi An at Dubai Shangri-La offers more exciting options from its revised and newly crafted menu and delivers authentic Vietnamese flavors that tantalize your palate. mylifestylenews writes.

With all that has been going on since the onset of the global pandemic, many restaurants have faced extremely challenging situations with keeping operations open. While Dubai has not experienced the worst of it, some restaurants took the road of temporary closure due to significantly reduced tourist numbers. Hoi An at Dubai Shangri-La  has been serving some real good Vietnamese food in the past and not forgetting its Vietnamese legacy and DNA, introducing its traditional heritage and history from its unique culinary and delicacies to wider audiences outside of its homeland in Vietnam.  With the re-opening recently, Chef Truong presents a more tantalizing new menu and keeping some of the diners’ all-time-favorites from the previous menu by introducing some of his favorite childhood dishes that are inspired by his homeland, combining the southern and northern Vietnamese traditional style of cooking with culinary innovation to delight and satisfy your “Taste of Vietnam” cravings.

With a new menu comes new culinary possibilities, Chef Truong rediscovers the traditional recipes that were almost being forgotten, left unattended and even consigned to oblivion, bringing it back to life with a divine elevation from its original taste and contemporary presentation.

Social distancing restrictions has meant a large number of tables have been removed, so the ambience will suffer with so few diners in the large main dining room, but our visit was all about the food and we can certainly create our own atmosphere in such inclement circumstances. Here are some of the many newly introduced dishes that were recommended by our energetic Vietnamese server Angel, who does not hesitate to share her hometown’s best.

<Goi cuon ca hoi - Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab Fresh Summer Rolls>
Fresh Vietnamese spring rolls (summer rolls is named here) with light and crispy deep fried soft shell crab wrapped with vermicelli, vegetables and herbs were delicious. With four rolls, it was just the right portion size for a starter to whet the appetite, served with home-made fish sauce which was not overly salty and made the perfect dipping to add a zing on the palate.

<Goi cuon ca hoi - Salmon Fresh Summer Rolls>
Another fresh Vietnamese spring (summer) rolls dish was recommended. Once again 4 well-sliced small rice paper rolls with a generous serve of fresh chunky salmon was equally delicious, topped with long tail chive sticking out from the wrap that is truly represent an authentic style of Vietnamese fresh spring rolls presentation.

<Banh khot - Mini Pancakes>
Four pieces of crispy soft mini pancakes made from rice flour were beautifully presented on a lettuce leaf in a bite-size that is simply appetizing. Topped with shrimps and a combination of yellow bean, mixed herbs, fish sauce and pickles to be well enjoyed and eaten by hand in one mouthful at a time. A must try!

<Pho – Vietnamese Soup>
Pho is a must-have when you dine in a Vietnamese restaurant. Hoi An’s pho comes with a choice of Angus beef tenderloin, organic chicken or tiger prawns. The soup is made with beef stock that has been boiled for at least 9 hours which was self-evident in the taste. The medium size noodle soup we opted seems a little less than expected and came along with 100g of thin sliced beef that was lightly blanched and well placed in the hot broth to have its “final cooking” from the heat of the soup by itself when it is brought to the table. This is a simple, yet much loved national dish that was very light in taste and tasty with a smooth texture of noodles to slurp. Despite the beef wasn’t as tender as we had hoped, but still tasty nonetheless. Worth the order still as it truly represents a classic taste of Vietnam.

<Hai san cuon la chuoi nuong cham voi mam me va rau song –
Stuffed Banana Leaf with Seafood, Lemongrass, coriander, Tamarind Sauce, Rice Noodle>
Don’t let this long-winded name refrain you from ordering it. Akin to street food in its style, this starter is an absolute hit! The seafood was mixed to a paste form texture and pan-fried over banana leaf to extract the aroma while it was being cooked together. All the ingredients perfectly blended to create a seamless taste of ‘fish cake’ with aromatic herbs on the palate. Delicious at every bite and a quintessential taste of Vietnam and highly recommended!

<Bo kho kieu sai gon – Saigon Style Braised Australian Beef Cheek>
Slow braised Australian beef cheek is cooked with pearl onion and carrot reminiscent
of some French stewed dishes. Fresh Vietnamese basil leafs were added for its sweet-smelting aroma that gave a distinctive flavour to this dish. The beef cheek was utterly tender and melts easily in the mouth and well accompanied with a bowl of fragrant Vietnamese jasmine rice as well as a large slice of garlic French baguette. We couldn’t fault this dish and we made short work of it and it was so good that before you knew it, it was all gone. A beef lover’s delight and simply divine!

<Tom rang me - Wok-Fried King Prawn, Tamarind Sauce, Fresh Basil, Chili>
Big size chunky prawns are served with a rather overpowering tamarind sauce, a small dip is recommended to your liking as the crunchy deep-fried prawns are best to enjoy by themselves from the marinade. Sometimes less is more!

<Ca chem xao voi sot ca RI –
Wok-Fried Sea Bream, Curry Sauce, Baby Eggplant, Fresh Basil>
The rich, thick and aromatic curry sauce was perfectly judged, being unctuous and piquant, but not too overpowering to allow the fish to still shine through as the main ingredient. It smelled so good before we even tasted it. This thick cut chunky sea bream was lightly battered and deep fried before being cooked with the milky curry sauce for a different complexity on the palate in this generous portion. This is a wonderful dish with a great combination of flavours not only from its vibrant color presentation and the taste is to “dine” for. While not exactly a quintessential Vietnamese dish, it is a hit with us!

<Pho xao so diep - Wok-Fried Rice Noodle with Scallops, Tofu, Basil and Bean Sprout>
When it comes to stir-fried noodles dishes, this new add-on certainly has its added value to delight your palate. Four generous huge scallops that were stirred fried with the Vietnamese pho in high heat wok that generates the smoky wok flavours that was quite delicious. Another way to enjoy this comfort food with an elevation is to pour over the curry sauce from the previous dish which compliments each other quite well.

<Ngu nam xao toi voi dau hao - Five Types of Sauteed Mushrooms, Garlic in Oyster Sauce>
A light palate vegetarian cleanser with a mélange of assorted mushroom flavours lightly stir-fried with oyster sauce that is simply enjoyable.

<Bun thit nuong - Vermicelli with Char-Grilled Chicken, Prawn Cake, Crispy Spring Roll, Mixed Herbs, Fish Sauce>
Bun is like a noodle salad that can be served with a variation of meat like beef, chicken, pork, seafood etc and served with a large portion of homemade herbs fish sauce - where fish sauce is the soul ingredient in most Vietnamese cooking and dishes, tossed well and enjoy every condiments bit by bit. This dish was beautifully cooked with some quintessential lemongrass char-grilled flavours from the chicken as well as the prawn cake aka prawn lollipop wrapped on a juicy sugar cane stick. The crispy spring roll didn’t disappoint either.

<Sot va kem la dua voi chuoi, gung ngao duong –
Banana Ginger Syrup, Coconut Pandan Sauce with Pandan Ice Cream>
Yummy is the only word to describe this flavorsome dessert. It may sound rich and yet came in the right portion with a firm and milky texture Pandan ice cream which nonetheless is absolutely homemade. What a great dessert to finish the evening with and more than just a palate cleanser with a sweet sensation. So organically refreshing, as it is filled with raw aromatics of the pandan flavour that we enjoyed to the full!

The new menu does not diverge too much from what one would expect from an authentic Vietnamese culinary journey. The dedicated culinary team has certainly strived to offer what they think best from their very own Vietnamese authenticity together with the warm and attentive service team especially Angel who has so much passion about the new menu and what we should be tasting and not rushing you in between courses. We left with a great satisfaction from the culinary journey that we just experienced from that evening. A good cardio in the following days is definitely needed to burn all those extra calories off from such a sumptuous meal but it is absolutely worth it.

Tried & Tested:
Location: 4/5
Design & Decor: 4.5/5
Food & Beverage: 4.5/5
Service: 4.5/5
Value For Money: 4/5
Experience: 4.5/5

Stuffed Banana Leaf With Seafood
Braised Australian Beef Cheek Saigon Style
Wok-Fried Sea Bream In Curry Sauce

Sheikh Zayed Road,
P.O. Box 75880
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Tel: +971 4 405 2703
Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated.

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