Disappointing Jumeirah Thai spot

I blame a reader. ‘You must try Pagoda,’ they wrote, ‘it’s the most authentic Thai/Chinese restaurant in Dubai.’ While it’s rare that a pan-Asian restaurant achieves authenticity, I was happy to try it because I liked its location. I’ve had some good experiences at the Jumeirah Beach Park Plaza; Duck King has some of my favourite dim sum in Dubai and Circle Café does beautiful things with bagels. Unfortunately, Pagoda isn’t in the same league.

The menu read like a fat-fryer’s greatest hits. Since it was clear we were going to be eating a lot of unhealthy food, my date and I opted to start with a papaya salad, but even this traditionally light, fresh dish came drenched in a gloopy, sweet dressing that left us feeling heavy before we even began. I had been intrigued when I first heard about the venue’s wasabi prawns through its website, but the reality wasn’t very enticing: fried prawns covered in a creamy wasabi-based sauce, yet possessing no real kick and way too many calories.

My date’s crispy, sesame-coated duck was thin, dry strips of fried poultry that tasted almost of jerky. It would make an acceptable dish for someone in the mood for thoughtless takeaway and an Adam Sandler comedy, but wasn’t as well suited for a restaurant meal. I ordered roast lamb in a potato massaman curry. The lamb was tender, but tasted a bit like stew meat.

We finished by splitting a coconut roll in honey butter sauce for dessert. This was basically a spring roll stuffed with shredded coconut and doused in a thick, sugary syrup. It pushed both my date and I too far, and we left the restaurant feeling nauseous from too much deep-fried and sugary food.

Pagoda is not an expensive place – it has that much going for it – but it doesn’t really make much sense as an eat-in venue, and it’s definitely not a restaurant where anyone should expect a true taste of Asia.

The bill (for two)
1x Large bottle Masafi water Dhs14
1x Papaya salad Dhs25
1x Wasabi prawns Dhs48
1x Crispy duck Dhs60
1x Lamb curry Dhs44
1x Coconut roll Dhs26
Service (10 per cent) Dhs22
Total Dhs239 Pagoda
5 1

By Daisy Carrington | 02 November 2009

Location: - Jumeirah - Dubai
Tel: 04 342 8182
Travel: Jumeirah Beach Road
Cuisine: Thai
Times: Open Sun-Thu 11.30am-11.30pm, Fri-Sat 11.30am-midnight
Price range: Dhs200-349
Credit Cards Accepted: Yes

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Pagoda on Map

  • Adam Jan 21, 2011 06:31 pm
    Would you go back to this restaurant?
    100% - Oh please due come a long, there is plenty of succeulent, crispy, duck which is to die for

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