As business lunches go, Maiden Shanghai’s is certainly among the less corporate.
Seated in the restaurant’s split-level dining area, with views to the lush green gardens of the neighbouring villas, you could easily forget you had that important deadline or 3 o’clock meeting and while away an entire afternoon without realising it.
Maiden Shanghai opened in May at the Five Palm Jumeirah hotel. It marked the launch of a new concept for Dubai, with a restaurant, rooftop lounge and private dining areas spread over three artfully decorated floors.
Head chef Luo Bing’s upmarket Chinese menu incorporates flavours, styles and ingredients from the Canton, Sichuan, Shanghai and Beijing provinces, with signature dishes including piquant Boom Boom shredded chicken and a classic hot and sour soup.
This month, Maiden Shanghai launched a special lunch menu allowing diners to sample a selection of its most popular dishes for AED99.
The day we visit, we are taken to one of the semi-private dining areas, where the sun streams in through floor-to-ceiling windows – a far cry from more traditional business lunches in dark and stuffy rooms.
Our waiter brings us hot and sour soup, either chicken or vegetarian. It is perfect: thick and salty with a sharp hit of black pepper. Next, we eat a selection of starter dishes, including the aforementioned Boom Boom chicken with fluffy Chinese pancakes, crispy shredded beef with carrot in Shanghai sauce, vegetarian spring rolls and a sweet Wagyu beef puff.
Two of the highlights for me were the salt and pepper squid – light and not too greasy – and a cleverly crafted roll of creamed spinach with a fine sesame sauce.
Next, we are brought a generous selection of main courses, including MaPo tofu (infused with truffle oil), sweet and sour crispy chicken with dragon fruit, wok braised aubergine with yellow bean paste, and a wok fried grouper fish.
The flavours of each were rich and intense, and the meat and fish cooked perfectly. My only criticism would be the texture of some of the sauces. The sweet and sour chicken, for example, was a bit gloopy. Overall, however, the lunch was a treat – a luxurious mix of tasty Chinese flavours.
Forget salads and the 30-minute ‘express’ lunch, Maiden Shanghai does lunch properly, the ‘old school’ way. Expect to be here for longer, and you will definitely not go hungry.
Maiden Shanghai’s lunch menu is available from 12noon to 3.30pm, Sunday to Thursday.
Arabian Business was a guest of Maiden Shanghai for this review.
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