Food review: Shanghai Me Dubai
Try the pandan cake!
CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENT - IT'S a tricky concept to navigate. On the one hand you're reassured a familiar face has staked their name and reputation on a product or service. Though, conversely, pay some people enough cash and they'll advertise anything. Not that we're mentioning any names.
It is somewhat more pleasing, therefore, when something draws in the great and the good of their own accord. No formal arrangement is drawn up, they just want to be part of the action. Since five-star Chinese restaurant Shanghai Me opened its doors slap bang in the middle of Dubai's financial district, the celebs have been flocking. It is perhaps doubly exciting the fact two world-class sports stars, Cristiano Ronaldo and Roger Federer, have chosen to eat there; their strict nutrition regimes permitting some of the fine food on offer.
For us mere mortals, even if you don't happen to bump into an Oscar winner, the Shanghai Me experience remains worthy of your upmost attention. For our visit, we chose a busy Thursday lunchtime to have a peek at their express executive menu. However, this supposed quick bite rapidly morphed from an hour stint to multi-course feast, a result of our voracious curiosity combined with their cracking recipes.
We have to immediately show our hand: we went mainstream. There are more adventurous dishes available including the delicious yellowtail with sliced black truffle or Dover sole in soy and ginger, but on the recommendation from the knowledgeable and attentive staff we trod the bestseller line. To start, some beautifully presented piping hot sesame prawn on toast. Often too greasy for our palette, four delicate pieces of sauteed bread sat there next to a portion of sweet chili sauce of which we made light work.
Next up a medley of dim sum and spring rolls provided more of an exploratory feel. The four steamed parcels contained elements including gold leaf, truffle, kimchee, prawn, scallop and chicken. Each were as refreshing and flavoursome as you could imagine this method of cooking and the use of premium ingredients to be. The accompanying duck and vegetable spring rolls were a little more run-of-the-mill, but how audacious can a chef be with deep fried pastry?
At this point we expected to walk away. We were as full as the vibrant outdoor terrace on which we sat. Thankfully we were persuaded otherwise because what proceeded was one of the best dishes we have tasted in years. Yes the Singapore noodles were excellent - light and packed with chicken, prawn and veg goodness, though we're not talking about them. Unusually for us we went gaga over a dessert. Beg, borrow or steal a way of getting to Shanghai Me to taste their pandan cake. This Indonesian leaf infused sponge mixed with coconut and drizzled in pandan reduction invokes and deserves every British Bake Off compliment going. Moist, sweet, stunningly delicious, we're heading back as soon as humanly possible.
Where: Shanghai Me
Best dish: Pandan cake
Av. cost pp: Dhs200