Located at the beautiful Downtown Boulevard (one of the best places to stroll around in Dubai) lies an Asian restaurant that is adored by many. Royal Orchid has branches all over Dubai, but the best of them all would have to be the one at Downtown purely for the atmosphere and the vibe. And, if by any chance after reading this review you decide to head down there, do it soon since their outdoor seating has beautiful white cabanas that adds a spark to your entire dining experience at Royal Orchid.
Of course, the indoor seating as well is equally captivating with its ceiling lanterns and Asian-inspired décor.
But less about the décor and more about the food. At Royal Orchid, you are spoiled for choice with the variety of food and cuisine. We’re talking about the three most popular far eastern cuisines of Thai, Chinese and Mongolian. The downfall of this however is you don’t get to master one particular cuisine. You are left with three cuisines that are probably not the best you’ve had (individually) however pleasurably acceptable.
We are not implying that the food is mediocre though, for instance the Tom Yum Soup with Prawns is the perfect pick-me-up soup when you’re down with a cold or in need of some heat during a cold and gloomy weather. Tom Yum which is a signature Thai Soup is both hot and sour, is an authentic, delicious and clear soup that is pretty difficult to get right. However Royal Orchid presented and cooked it beautifully. Again, not the best we’ve had but we will definitely be coming back for more.
The Crispy Mushroom Beijing style was another scrumptious dish that we could seem to stop going back to. The mushrooms were cooked just right and the Beijing Inspired marinade which included a strong us of flavored roots and vegetables such as pepper, garlic, ginger, leek and coriander. A simple dish that is packed with flavor.
Speaking of flavor however, the dish that topped them all was the Wasabi Prawns. Perfectly marinated prawns topped with a generous portion of wasabi mayonnaise. If you don’t like spice or heat in your food, then we highly recommend you staying away from this dish. We however, being spice junkies, absolutely loved it. The heat comes from the Wasabi which is also known as “Japanese Horseradish”. It is always used as a condiment due to its extremely strong pungency.
The Tao Duck Dumplings with Chill Plum Sauce however was a letdown for us. The portion size was small, and the dumplings itself weren’t as juicy and crispy as we’d hope for it to be. We also admired the presentation of the cucumber pillars, however found it unnecessary. The one thing we enjoyed about this dish however was the lusciously thick plum sauce.
For mains, we opted for the Sizzling Sliced Cumin Lamb with Onions and Leeks. The lamb was tender and not too chewy, and the marinade complemented the lamb perfectly. We also loved the steamed buns that are served with this dish; they’re perfect for soaking up all that gravy at the bottom of the dish. Definitely a must try!
Another gratifying dish was the Singapore Chilli Prawns. The Singapore chilli sauce is one of the most popular Asian sauces that go perfectly well with seafood (especially crab). Having it with prawns was a first for us but what an enjoyable experience it was. The sauce had that perfect balance of sweet and spicy making it suitable for all kinds of palettes. The shrimp was cooked perfectly well too and coated by the sauce generously.
Of course, having a weakness for Thai food, we had to order the Red Curry with Chicken and Thai Sticky Rice. The curry wasn’t the best; however it was evident that Royal Orchid knew their flavors. It was pretty obvious that the curry paste was made in house from scratch, since the curry tasted absolutely fresh and looked vibrant. Nothing goes perfectly well with Thai Curry other than sticky rice. So make sure to devour them together and be prepared for fireworks in your mouth!
The Pad Thai with chicken however wasn’t a very satisfying dish since were expecting a bit more flavor and texture. The flat noodles itself was a bit soggy/overcooked and we were expecting a bit more crunch with the addition of sprouts and peanuts (that any classic Pad Thai recipe would have)
Being in an Asian restaurant, it is impossible to see Fresh Thai Mango with Sticky Rice on the dessert menu and not order it. Loved the quality of the mangoes and the sweetness of the sticky rice. Probably an extremely simple dessert however absolutely satisfying.
Tom Yum Soup – Dhs38
Crispy Mushroom Beijing Style – Dhs30
Wasabi Prawns – Dhs26
Tao Duck Dumplings – Dhs36
Sizzling Sliced Cumin Lamb – Dhs64
Singapore Chilli Prawns – Dhs68
Red Curry with Chicken – Dhs50
Sticky Rice – Dhs18
Pad Thai – Dhs40
Fresh Thai Mango with Sticky Rice – Dhs32
Ambience – 4/5
Food – 3/5
Service – 3/5
Value – 3.5/5