New Midnight Café and Restaurant
International food in Discovery Gardens 37 Reviews
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There are some restaurants that I know from the outset are going to be ‘experiences’ rather than ‘dining experiences’; New Midnight Café was one such venue. After asking for directions over the phone, I enquired as to what cuisine was served there. ‘Japanese… Iranian… Chinese… and Italian,’ came the reply. It was safe to assume I wasn’t going to eat the best meal of my life at New Midnight, but then I don’t think this Discovery Gardens restaurant has ever been under any pretensions of winning a Michelin star.
In spite of this, New Midnight was full when I visited. The dining area was filled with an eclectic mix, which was indicative of Dubai’s cultural diversity – a couple of Koreans sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes, a group of Lebanese students sat with their laptops and shisha pipes, old men playing backgammon, a family tucking into kebabs and rice… It was real and surreal in equal measure (the bizarre decor and attire of the staff adding an otherworldly edge) and I found myself enjoying the colourful cross-section of life that was unfolding before me.
True to the word of the lady on the phone, the restaurant serves a range of Far-East Asian, Middle Eastern and European fare, with sandwiches and Indian dishes thrown in for good measure – as if they weren’t covering all bases already. I was dining alone, so promptly ordered the fried wanton dumplings and the chicken yakisoba noodles, and opened my laptop to pretend I had better things to do than wait for my food (I really didn’t).
I didn’t have to feign interest in my computer for too long – my wanton starters and yakisoba main soon arrived, together. Still, I was pretty hungry and was pleased to be able to alternate between sizzling noodles and dumplings. The combination of MSG and my appetite initially clouded the fact that what I was eating wasn’t very good. The noodles, while hearty enough, were rather greasy, and I suspected that the dumplings hadn’t been freshly prepared. Again, my expectations weren’t particularly high and I enjoyed each dish for what it was, though I couldn’t help but balk at the yakisoba’s Dhs49 price tag (last week I’d grumbled that the egg noodles with seafood at high-end Chinese restaurant Chi’Zen were Dhs65 – a bargain in hindsight).
I really didn’t need to eat any more, but the obligation to sample more than two dishes led me to order the chicken biryani (there were no desserts on the menu). Much like the Chinese and Japanese offerings that preceded it, the biryani was never going to have the local Indian community queueing around the block, though for Dhs33 it was perhaps the best priced of the dishes I’d sampled.
I was painfully full and my eyes had began to sting from the shisha smoke – what was a character-filled restaurant had suddenly become airless and claustrophobic. New Midnight Café obviously serves a purpose for local residents, but for me, it was time to leave Discovery Gardens to digest three courses and an otherwise average dining experience.
The bill (for one)
1x Fried wanton dumpling Dhs29
1x Chicken yakisoba Dhs49
1x Chicken biryani Dhs33
1x Coca Cola Dhs8
Total (excluding service) Dhs116
Time Out Dubai,
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