Review: Zhen Wei
Do we really need another high-end pan-Asian restaurant?
Since Caesars Palace opened its doors at Bluewaters last November, we’ve seen a number of impressive restaurant launches. Hell’s Kitchen in particular opened to much fanfare, instantly becoming a hit with the What’s On team thanks to its lively entertainment, hearty food and bold decor. Contrary to that, and nestled just next door, is the understated pan-Asian restaurant, Zhen Wei.
Access is via the hotel’s outdoor pool club Neptune, with rows of back-lit palm trees guiding the way. We’re greeted with a warm, welcoming smile by the head hostess and escorted to a table next to the floor-to-ceiling windows, overlooking neighbouring beach club, Cove Beach.
The interiors mix traditional oriental styles with a contemporary flair. Every detail and design has been carefully thought out, from the open industrial-style kitchen right down to the gold-tipped chopsticks.
The menu is split into small, large and grand plates, as well as a hefty selection of dim sum. The grand plates are for two to four people and feature dishes such as whole Beijing Duck (Dhs140) and kung pao lobster (Dhs495).
The dim sum is exceptional. Each fancy portion includes four pieces, beautifully presented with a different colour and design incorporated into each. The steaming chicken soup xiao long bao dumplings (Dhs80) arrive on golden Chinese soup spoons, and we’re told to burst the pocket to release the soup before enjoying the chicken with truffle, ginger and scallion.
For mains we opt for the Szechuan wagyu striploin (Dhs220) cooked medium-rare. The meat arrives juicy and tender, sliced into sharing size pieces and accompanied by lightly fried potato threads. The black tea-smoked seabass (Dhs190), however, is the star of the show, equally sweet and flaky and melting in our mouths. Both meat and fish portions are generous, and perfect for sharing with a side of fluffy steamed rice (Dhs25).
For the final course, we chose a variety of desserts assembled onto a platter (Dhs90). The spring apple sticky rice cake (Dhs45) is excellent, with real apple chunks and sweet rice, encased in a bright green sticky shell. For savoury fans, try the sesame red bean balls (Dhs45), which are bitesize fried dough balls encasing a red bean jam filling.
A final note about the staff, who were truly excellent. Able to make (spot on) recommendations, and seamlessly replace plates and cutlery without disturbing the meal, they were both present and absent in all the right ways.
Zhen Wei’s is an excellent addition to Dubai’s restaurant scene and proof that the city does have room for one more high-end pan-Asian restaurant. In fact, in terms of quality, service and location, we’d say it offers the best value in town.
Caesars Bluewaters Dubai, daily noon to 3.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm. Tel: (04) 5566666. caesars.com