How does dinner at the Burj Al Arab — the ultra-luxurious hotel in Dubai — sound? Lovely, but for most of us, a distant dream.
How about if it’s Dh270 per person?
That’s how much you’ll be paying if you eat there during Jumeirah’s annual celebration of its restaurants starting on Friday, May 23.
The Burj Al Arab is joining the Restaurant Week fun this year, offering buffet dinners at pan-Asian Junsui and Arabic Al Iwan for Dh270 a head.
More than 60 restaurants in the hotel group will be involved in the offer with three-course menus at 33 signature restaurants (Dh180 per person) and 28 casual dining restaurants for Dh120. They include the likes of the Rib Room, Pierchic, Tortuga, Voi and Rivington Grill. The noodle house menu is Dh90. Abu Dhabi residents are not left out: Li Beirut, BiCE, Tori No Su, Scott’s and Nahaam at Etihad Towers are included. Details of all the restaurants included and contacts are here.
But it’s the Burj Al Arab’s offering that stands out this year. tabloid! had a preview of the buffet at Junsui, which features dishes from five Asian cuisines — Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Korean and Thai — and this isn’t your average buffet.
Firstly, dinner comes after taking a walk through the lobby of the luxury hotel — access is restricted to guests and those holding a restaurant booking, so it’s an exclusive experience just to drive onto the private island. (Remember to bring your confirmation number or you won’t get past the checkpoint.)
Jinsui is suitably Zen — all mother-of-pearl and sea blues, staffed by the kind of attentive but friendly staff you’d expect. Wear your smart-casual best, as it’s not formal, which meant I enjoyed it all the more.
And make sure your clothes have a bit of give, because there is plenty to choose from here. The sushi and sashimi selection is made in front of you, delicate bites of rice and fish with a few twists. Alongside are salads, from Thai beef or noodle, to a top-notch sesame-laden Korean cucumber kimchi and seared tuna. You can also compose your own salad, or pile your plate with chilled prawns, mussels, clams and crab, and douse the lot with wasabi mayonnaise.
If you love Asian-style soups, this is your place. The Korean bean paste soup is a spicier version of Japanese miso, bubbling in a stone pot with fresh shiitake mushrooms. There is a choice of made-to-order noodle soups, such as wonton or egg noodle, and a Thai tom yam that you can customise. But my favourite was the unique Indonesian oxtail broth, a richly flavoured broth that the chef added a pile of fresh coriander to for me.
There are no steamer trays here; most dishes are cooked either in small portions for freshness or to order at the live stations (such as the Japanese teppanyaki or the satay grill). Vegetarians and seafood lovers will be happy here too, with offerings in all categories including the dim sum station — the spicy Indonesian eggplant is a don’t-miss.