The man behind Dubai's triple award-winning restaurant talks to Time Out about his award ceremony triumph and dethroning Gordon Ramsey.
They scored a hat trick at the Time Out Dubai awards – scooping plaques for Best Chinese, Newcomer and Overall restaurant. Becky Lucas caught up with the man behind The Noble House menu, chef Peter Lau.
Were you surprised to win the three awards? Yes, very surprised. Three awards is a huge honour. I hoped something good would come out of the nominations, but this completely surpassed all my expectations.
Are you a good or bad winner? I am a good winner, I do not like to boast about my success(es), especially because it is all about team work at the end of the day. We were also competing with our colleagues from Fire & Ice for Best Newcomer, which was a delicate situation. We should therefore consider these awards as Raffles Dubai Awards, rather than just for Noble House.
What do you say to those who believe you haven’t been open long enough to deserve such accolades? We deserve our success. We had the potential to do something big and it paid off due to our hard work, determination and mainly because we were not working to win awards, but to give our patrons a wonderful experience with our food and atmosphere. The awards were just the cherry on top.
What in your opinion makes a restaurant the best? The food, no doubt. Then a combination of great service, location and team effort.
What would you say to Gordon Ramsay if you saw him? I would definitely invite him to The Noble House and have him try one of my signature dishes.
How do you plan to retain the title? Consistency is key, as expectations will be very high from now on. However, we should not become focused on winning or losing the title, but just concentrate on keeping up the good work and remaining creative. We plan to surprise our guests with more inventive dishes, and maintain the food quality.
Have you ever won any awards for your cooking before? I was working at Zeng He’s prior to Raffles, and we won the Best Chinese Restaurant Award twice. I also received the Silver and Gold medals for the Emirates Culinary Guild and the medal for the Emirates Salon Culinaire.
How involved were you with designing the theatrical concept of the restaurant? I was very much involved. The theatrical concept can be seen in the presentations of our food (we use dry ice to create lots of visual effects with steam) and the tea man. The kitchen and main restaurant are very much involved, sharing ideas and feedback on food and service.
Which other countries have you cooked in? Mainly Asia, in Singapore, Malaysia, and also Brunei.
First job in food? I was 18, and started work in a small Chinese restaurant in Brunei. A month later, I moved into the kitchen.
Kitchen hero? Without any doubt, my ex-chef, with whom I used to work at Zeng He’s, Chef Leong Cheeyeng. He is a true artist.
Which dish do you enjoy cooking the most? Beef and prawns are a favourite. They are tasty and you can cook them in various ways.
Favourite ingredient and why? Soya bean paste – it adds instant flavour to any dish.
If you could cook in any restaurant, where would it be and with which other chefs? I would like to invite my ex-chef Leong Cheeyeng to cook with me at The Noble House. It would be an honour.
Which Chinese dish will you not eat? I will never eat dogs, cats or intestine.
It’s your last meal. What are you cooking and where will you eat it? I would cook my favourite low-key meal for my family, steamed rice with soya, chilli sauce and fragrant oil. The simplest meal can sometimes taste the best; it all depends with whom you are sharing it.
Noble House, The, Raffles Dubai (04 324 8888) Open 7pm-11.30pm daily. All major credit cards accepted.