We revisit long-standing Chinese venue after renovation 6 Reviews
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Once this established Chinese favourite reopened, after a period of renovation, we headed down to Garhoud to see how the new-look venue was shaping up. Since my friend and I were taken over by a whim to visit there and then on a Thursday night, rather than the subsequent evening (as planned), foolishly, we managed to jump into a taxi, forgetting to make a reservation.
My error only hit me as we reached the reservation desk. Surely, I hoped, since the restaurant hadn’t been back up and running very long, we’ll be lucky and squeeze in. Not likely, the manager told us. We were welcome to wait for a table, but the restaurant was booked to the rafters, and it could be a 15 minute wait. No problem, we said, and suddenly the estimated time began to increase by degrees to 20 minutes, 40 minutes, and then never. I don’t resent a busy restaurant turning walk-in guests away, in fact I am pleased to see that it is popular and thriving, but unfortunately the manager’s manner didn’t come across as very obliging or welcoming.
Still, we decided to take our chances and wait. As it happens, we’d barely waited ten minutes before the (much more amiable) waiting staff showed us to a table. The room wasn’t packed, but granted it was fairly busy, and not many tables were left unoccupied. Now admitted to take in the new look decor for ourselves, the space seemed fairly dark but elegant, with a subtle decoration of slate greys, wooden frames and the odd touch of colour from pink orchids. The room was reasonably sized, but the space was oddly portioned and divided, so that it felt smaller; no doubt to make the room feel cosy and intimate, yet, for much of the meal, it felt a little claustrophobic instead.
The menu itself was infinitely more expansive, with a broad range of dishes, and an equally large variation in price. We started with some generously sized and wonderfully moist and meaty chicken and prawn shu mai, and the intriguing sounding crispy aubergine with custard flavour. It was, more simply put, a plate of deep-fried aubergine where the crisp yellow batter had taken on a sweet and buttery richness, and the aubergine flesh was silken and rather delicious.
Service seemed to vary vastly, from the manager we’d met initially, to the uniformly efficient, professional and polite (but slightly icy) waiting staff, to the warm and helpful interaction of the specific waiter who took our orders. He advised us against ordering a separate vegetable and tofu dish, and guided us instead to a dish hidden at the back on the small list of healthier options, which combined the two. While the variety of mushrooms and vegetables were all pleasing in their varying slippery and crunchy textures, the slabs of tofu (which another waiter served in such a deathly tight grip between fork and spoon that it disintegrated) had a sour background taste, like cheap soy milk, which ruined the dish.
The crispy oysters, however, were cooked just the right amount, and again, were incased in that interesting yellow ‘custard’ batter. The more expensive scallops with broccoli and brown garlic, however, were a mixed bag. The scallops lacked heat for a caramelised edge, and the barely cooked broccoli even more so. My friend felt the dish lacked the promised flavour of garlic. Yet the sauce itself did have an elegantly mild and woody garlic flavour, in addition to an intense and mouth-filling taste of the sea.
The sweet and sour crispy duck was particularly good. It wasn’t crispy at all, in fact, but better for it. Instead it was beautifully tender, soaking up a sauce that offered a more fresh and subtle spectrum of sweet and sour than is often served.
I’m not fond of the layout or welcome, and the food is patchy, but for those dishes done right, Long Yin could make an elegant change of scene.
The bill (for two)
1x chicken/prawn shumai Dhs48
1x crispy aubergine Dhs50
1x sweet and sour duck Dhs75
1x scallops with broccoli Dhs108
1x crispy oyster Dhs80
1x tofu and vegetables Dhs52
1x green tea Dhs21
1x espresso Dhs20
2x large water Dhs38
Total (excluding service) Dhs492
Time Out Dubai,
- Previous reviews
- 22 March,2012- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 28 March,2011- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 07 April,2010- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 24 March,2010- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 17 March,2009- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 26 March,2008- reviewed by Jeremy Lawrence
- 12 March,2007- reviewed by Time Out Dubai Staff
- 03 May,2006- reviewed by Time Out Dubai
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- 01 September,2003- reviewed by Rob Orchard
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