The Shortlist

Zheng He’s, Mina A'Salam
Nominated for Best Chinese
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Named after a 13th-century explorer who is best known for his role in assisting the overthrow of China’s Yongle Emperor, it’s perhaps appropriate that Zheng He’s offers a clash of cultures. Although it’s not the Asian, African and Middle Eastern climes that the traveller explored from which this Madinat joint draws its influence, instead fusing traditional Chinese cuisine with Western sensibilities: dishes are served on flat plates, not in bowls, sauces artfully splashed rather than slathered on mains. The careful presentation extends to the restaurant itself, a tasteful blend of Far Eastern furnishing with a modern twist; rich and bold reds, blacks and oranges, creating an atmosphere that is classy and intimate without being too stuffy or formal. Coupled with a beautiful canal-side terrace with Burj Al Arab views, it’s an ideal date spot, with friendly service that only occasionally borders on intrusive. And the food? While some of the blanket tastes may lack a little of the depth and fire associated with more authentic fare, it’s well balanced to meet a globalised palate.
Open daily noon-2.30pm, 7pm-11pm. Mina A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 6730).
Words: Rob Garratt

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