High-end Filipino restaurant has buffet deal and entertainment 11 Reviews

Meal Deal
Friday brunch

A cheap, cheerful and family friendly affair with a buffet selection of Asian cooking, including Filipino dishes. Dhs89 (soft drinks). Dhs179 (house beverages) Timings: 11am-3pm (Friday, Saturday)

© ITP Images
  • Picture 1 of 2

Ramadan is a difficult time for a restaurant reviewer. There are no new openings to speak of, and most venues forego their usual menus in favour of iftars. In this respect, the opening of the Asiana Hotel and its food and beverage outlets proved to be a blessing; I’ve had a new venue to visit each week, enough to tide me over until September breathes new life into the dormant scene.

My third visit to Deira in as many weeks was perhaps the most exciting. Having already enjoyed the hearty Korean offerings of Sonamu and been underwhelmed by Hanabi, I couldn’t wait to get to high-end Filipino outlet Lamesa. My past experiences of Filipino food have been wholly enjoyable (most notably at Grill Corner in Satwa) and I was looking forward to trying a high-end take on this hearty cuisine, which combines different culinary traditions of South-East Asia with a dash of European influence. Besides, high-end Filipino restaurants are hard to come by in Dubai (ie there aren’t any).

My excitement soon turned to confusion and, ultimately, disillusion. Having expected Filipino fine dining (the hotel had even called me earlier in the day to inform me of the dress code – no flip flops), I found myself standing in a room that looked suspiciously like a buffet restaurant. In fact, it was a buffet restaurant.

I’d been hoodwinked. But all was not lost – aside from the smattering of generic Asian dishes (sushi, fried rice, and sweet and sour prawns), Lamesa’s buffet focused predominantly on Filipino fare. My spirits were further lifted when the waiter told me a live band and Filipino comedians would perform once Ramadan was over. Lamesa might not have been the fine dining experience I was hoping for, but it had character in spades.

I set about the buffet with a spring in my step, ignoring the requisite cold meats and pickles, heading instead to the beef kare-kare. Though I claim to like Filipino food, I don’t claim to be an expert, so I was unaware that the yellow, curry-like sauce and cuts of meat that I piled onto my plate were a variation of oxtail stew. I wasn’t ready for the slippery, gristly texture of the tail and was unable to finish my ambitious portion. I felt as though I’d let myself down and put my lack of appetite down to cultural differences – I’m not saying the beef kare-kare was bad; it just wasn’t for me.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Having guiltily pushed my half-full plate of beef kare-kare to one side, I was still excited by the prospect of trying more exotic, unfamiliar Filipino fare. At the far end of the dining room was a long table featuring sizzling sisig and crispy pata, both Pinoy favourites. I soon learned that sisig, served on a sizzling hot plate, consisted of finely diced pieces of pork (namely the head and liver).

While I’m always game for eating weird and wonderful foods, my reaction to the sisig was similar to the kare-kare – I just couldn’t stomach the contrasting textures of liver, gristle and soft meat. I had more luck with the pata – crispy chunks of crackling accompanied by fleshy pieces of pork – because both taste and texture were more familiar. I did feel, however, that the meat had been unduly allowed to cool and the lukewarm chunks of flesh would have been far tastier had they been served hot.

I was in a quandary. I wasn’t particularly enjoying the Filipino offerings, but this didn’t mean they had been done badly. I was tempted to wander over to the Filipino family on a nearby table and ask for gastronomic advice. Yet rather than interrupt their meal, I decided instead to judge Lamesa on the strength of more familiar dishes, such as sweet and sour prawns (a token offering from China), sushi and pasta (which had somehow managed to sneak onto the menu). This didn’t bode well for the restaurant. In spite of the viscous sauce that smothered the prawns, the dish was, amazingly, neither sweet nor sour, but disconcertingly dull and flavourless. The sushi was equally terrible: sticky dull rice encircling an interior of browning avocado and violent pink crabstick pieces. Somehow, even the pasta, served at the ‘live cooking station’ (a couple of messy hobs) was done badly.

Despite an otherwise dreadful experience, Lamesa has a quirky character that I liked and, come September, I dare say it will be a fun place to visit when the affordable drinks deals flow and the live band plays. But unless you’re partial to the distinct taste and texture of Filipino cooking and have no aversion to terribly prepared Pan-Asian cuisine, I suggest you go for the experience rather than for the food.

The bill (for two)
2x set buffet
Dhs138 (price likely to increase to Dhs79 per person during September)
Total (excluding service) Dhs138

By Oliver Robinson
Time Out Dubai,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.


  • Location: Asiana Hotel, Deira, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 238 7777
  • Travel: Salahuddin Road

Is this your establishment? Want to update any details? Please send your updates here.

Lamesa On The Map

User reviews

  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Family friendly

User reviews:

Posted by: paul blee on 13 Aug ' 14 at 05:57
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Edited by

the review is simply incorrect. maybe its not high-end enough for the reviewer. its a mid-priced buffet scenario. good food. good atmosphere with lots of people having a good time. i would go again. and definitely go hungry.

Posted by: Muzzi on 27 Feb ' 14 at 08:02
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I dont understand the review here. This place is always full, always got great food and if you go hungry you will be really satisfied afterwards. I go regularly with my friends and we always really enjoy all about it. The food is cooked really well and its great value too

Posted by: raul on 31 Dec ' 13 at 01:05
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I will go to any restaurant that I want to go to and no review would sway me away. Nobody can tell me what food is good or what restaurant is nice.

Posted by: Andrew Ulyett on 03 Feb ' 13 at 17:23
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

As a British expat was took by filipino friends and found th food was Masarap (Yum). You need to go and enjoy with an open mind. The food is from another culture and was authentic. Im sure the review would like beef Kare Kare with fillet steak in it but then it wouldn't be genuine would it. Ambience was great and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. Especially liked the Lechon kewali.

Posted by: Lone on 23 Aug ' 12 at 12:41
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I have not been to Lamesa but many said it is ok. Every time I call and ask for reservation, the phone operator said 'fully-booked.' This means that it is definitely good to go. But I have to try the food first. Action speaks louder than words then I need to decide again wether will recommend it or not. Filipino food is always the best! that all I can say

Posted by: lherma on 22 Dec ' 11 at 11:59
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I'd like to start this review by saying that La Mesa Restaurant is definitely a Filipino restaurant. The dishes prepared are filipino staples and favorite. I've been in this restaurant 3 times and all those times, it has always been a gastronomic experience that takes me back home. The soups are either Bulalo or Sinigang which is served piping hot, and it surely taste familiar and not a commercialized version. Just beside the soup station is the salad station. I should say that the salad station lacked the appeal in terms of variety but nevertheless, a typical pinoy diner would jump right straight to the main course. Some selections of cold cuts and smoked salmon are also on offer but i personally think, they are not the main reason why pinoys come to this place. Next in the buffet line are the main courses - staples like kare-kare, adobo, afridata etc.... and just beside it are the rice - steamed and fried. In a typical pinoy fashion, dishes are naturally oily. The setup of the buffet is much akin to when there is fiesta. On a separate area, the crispy pata, lechon kawali and sisig are showcased. Other fried items are also here like the last time, squid rings. No complain at all as the dishes as well as the dippings and side dishes (eggplant salad) are in true-bloded pinoy style. the desserts are not much, and seemed ordered from a third party supplier. the fruit platter has the "normal" melon, pineapple combo. the buco-pandan is a big disappointment. it is watery and sugary. not much cream and flavor. The sushi needs to be improved and has to be served fresh all the time. The korean samplings are authentic, although looks a little over-emphasized. the live cooking station has to get some action going on, or it can die a natural death. Overall, the restaurant is a good venue for family dinners and meeting with friends. Value for money is okay, specially when they include water in the buffet charge.

Posted by: Jane on 23 Nov ' 11 at 14:11
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I love this place, the best Filipino restaurant in Dubai. Not sure what the reviewer is on about! The ambiance is so great with nice musicians and amazing atmosphere. Normally go here then on to Boracay club level above

Posted by: James on 11 Nov ' 11 at 12:16
  • Best for: Brunch served
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I've been there when it was an a la carte restaurant. Food and service was fantastic. Are you sure this the Lamesa restaurant of Asiana Hotel you are reviewing?

Posted by: william on 24 Sep ' 11 at 10:54

timeout's review is plain bull... it's unfair to the filipino people. they should have sent someone who knows about filipino food.

i tried it myself. food was good. service was nice. there are plenty smiles all over. crowd was very pleasant and they all smell good... unlike other restos where the food and people can choke you to death.

Posted by: Joe on 09 Sep ' 11 at 08:17

You know what, there aren't any high-end Filipino restaurants here (some would say the Barrio Fiesta at Burjuman but I wasn't too impressed). You'd have to go to Singapore for something like that, I heard.

I'd say, Filipino food is best served at home. Because that's what it's all about... Family. So, that might also help (eat out with family). Extended family included (so bring a Flip too if you know any). Or simply ask around..

Don't get me wrong, it can be nasty but you gotta know when it is...

I'd say you should give the Beef Kare Kare another try - with proper portions. I've never had anything with tails in it... You see, that's the thing... there different ways of cooking and preparing Filipino food. Different styles (some too greasy, some just perfect), different ingredients put in... et cetera...

Posted by: John on 04 Sep ' 11 at 01:52

What a ridiculous review. Why not send someone who understands Filipino food to review a Filipino restaurant? This review is just pathetic, and tells us nothing about whether the food is authentic or not.

Add your review/feedback

Your Rating (Min. 1 star, zero stars will be treated as unrated)
Yes No

Subscribe to Restaurants newsletter

Prove you're not a robot:



Explore by

Our favourite features