'My skin was burning': Dubai diner warns about dangers of liquid nitrogen after restaurant waiter spills chemical on her

Dubai Municipality confirms investigation into an incident has been completed and the matter resolved


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Fri 27 Jan 2023, 8:39 AM

Last updated: Fri 27 Jan 2023, 8:40 PM

Dubai Municipality has confirmed that the investigation into an incident where a diner suffered burns at a Dubai restaurant has been completed and the matter resolved.

“Our inspectors inspected the premises and spoke to the complainant about the incident,” said a DM official.

Riyadh resident Aline Fleihan who suffered some burns on her skin after liquid nitrogen was spilled on her, warned people about the chemical, while speaking about her experience. She was visiting the city and dining with her friends at the popular Japanese restaurant Tabu when the alleged incident happened.

Calling the incident "unfortunate" in an email to Khaleej Times, the founder of Japanese restaurant Tabu, David Lescarre, said the eatery was "very sorry" about "our guest's experience".

"We gave the authorities every assistance in their investigation and will make any changes they recommend."

The restaurant has since been "working closely with the Dubai Municipality (DM), identifying we had all precautionary measures in place".

According to Aline, the incident happened on Friday, January 20, during a weekend visit to Dubai. “My friend had booked at Tabu in St. Regis,” she said.

“We were four at the table. About an hour later, the waiter was passing by, carrying a large tray above his head that was packed with food and drinks and the liquid nitrogen container. He dropped it by accident, and it fell on my back.”

High-end Japanese restaurant Tabu is located in Downtown Dubai and serves “authentic yet modern Japanese cuisine, showcased and plated with an artistic finesse”- according to its website.

Aline said she was rendered unable to work for a week and wants people to be aware of how dangerous the chemical is. “It’s the new thing in the industry and is even used in kids' birthdays,” she said. “However, I want people to know that liquid nitrogen can cause severe burns and could even cause people to go blind.”

Burning skin

According to Aline, people around her thought she was on fire because of the amount of smoke immediately after the liquid nitrogen was dropped on her. “I was so confused at the beginning,” she said. “I thought it was ice since it was cold. Minutes later I started to feel my skin burning and I called the manager to know what the waiter dropped.”

Upon realizing it was liquid nitrogen, the architect rushed to the washroom. “My friends started googling what to do,” she said. “We asked for warm water to cleanse my back from the chemicals.”

According to David Lescarret, the Tabu team "immediately offered first-aid".

Aline said her friends rushed her to the ER where the doctors asked for the chemical that was dropped on her. “The restaurant manager sent a photo of the chemicals in the kitchen and the doctor could not believe it,” she said. “He claimed I was extremely lucky to escape with relatively smaller burns. He said I could have gone blind.”


Aline claimed her injuries made her flight back home difficult and she was unable to work for a week as she recovered at home.

She expressed disappointment on how the restaurant reacted to the whole incident.

According to Aline, she got in touch with the owner of the restaurant who offered her a complimentary meal for four as compensation.

Lescarret said Tabu has remained in touch with Aline. “The safety and wellbeing of all our guests is always our priority.”

A 6-course tasting menu at Tabu, which promises theatrics at its meals, costs Dhs. 600 per person.

Liquid nitrogen

Liquid nitrogen, which has a boiling point of -196°C, has been used in the medical industry for removing unwanted skin and to kill cells that make up cancerous tissues. Of late, it has become increasingly common in the F&B industry where it has been used to create an atmosphere of theatrics with plumes of smoke.


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