The New Year's menu at Long Yin will appeal to fine dining connoisseurs and lovers of traditional Chinese cuisine
Exquisite yet comforting would best describe a dining experience at Long Yin. Its cosy atmosphere - accentuated by dark wooden panelling and adorned by terracotta warriors - sets you off on a culinary journey through China. The restaurant is all set to celebrate the Chinese New Year with a special four-course menu the coming weekend and we were at the preview session.
It's the Year of the Rat, and in Chinese culture, rats are seen as a sign of wealth. They are also thought to be clever, quick thinkers and successful, yet content with living a peaceful life. In terms of yin and yang, the rat is yang and represents the beginning of a new day and hence the year 2020 is looked as a year of beginning. Well, that was a wealth of knowledge about the rodent we consider insignificant. But there is nothing insignificant about the perfectly crafted menu. It takes off with a magical soup, perfectly simmered to get the right aroma and consistency, that one can be pleasantly surprised as to how such taste can be created from a simple mix of chicken and mushrooms. That is the shredded chicken with black mushroom soup for you. The steamed scallops and mixed seafood sio main and the dumplings were done to perfection; the prawn wasabi on a bed of lush fruits was a treat for the senses; and the tiger prawns sautéed with the right mix of honey beans and brown garlic sauce was just right and juicy. Long Yin has succeeded in putting forth a harmonious blend of flavours taking inspiration from classical recipes and ancient techniques.
Taste: The softness and crispness of the prawns and meat showed they were painstakingly prepared. The tenderloin beef with cashew nuts in "Kong Po" style sauce; the steamed fillet hammour with soya sauce, ginger and spring onion and prawn wasabi need special mention. The jasmine tea provided the perfect end to a highly satisfying meal.
Ambience: Long Yin has successfully brought in the timeless legacy of the Far East to Dubai by recreating China's rich and vast topography. The restaurant seemed to be a favourite spot as the rather large restaurant was almost full. The spacious seating provides a private-yet-open feeling.
Service: No complaints whatsoever with regards to service. In fact, I should say that 'wait-time' was practically nil. The servers not just served but explained each dish, its origins and significance. Making one feel at home is not an easy task, but full marks to the staff at Long Yin for that.
Presentation: I have wondered why the Chinese have not mastered the art of creating delectable desserts. And the Mango Exotica with Strawberry Caviar did nothing to change my impression. That said, the presentation was impressive, not just of the dessert but
of the starters and the mains, too.
Value for money: The four-course Chinese New Year set menu at Dh188 per person on offer from Jan 24-25 is value for money, considering it comes with all things nice - soup, starters, mains and dessert - and includes seafood sio mai, tiger prawns and more. The ideal way to kickstart the new year, I would say.
AT A GLANCE
Long Yin, Le Meridien, Garhoud, Dubai
Cost: Dh376 for two