From Time Out Dubai Eating Out 2009
The Dubai eating institution that is Smiling BKK inspired an entire cover story in Time Out Dubai, with the headline, ‘Secret city’. This was because of its clandestine location – set among Jumeirah villas, only indicated by its neon sign boasting a mustachioed Mona Lisa.

To experience it, you need to have heard of it, Chinese (or should that be Thaiwhispers style, from a friend – or now, us. Unlike Dubai’s endless round of five-star fine diners and below-par canteens, the BKK boasts real charm and absurdity. Its interior consists of dangling coloured lights, photos of customers mixed in with magazine shots of celebs – and a very deceptive mirror that makes you think the place is twice as big as it actually is.

The menu, meanwhile, looks like a bored teen has been at it, renaming all the dishes with names such as ‘Billy Jean’s not my lover’ (steamed fish with basil, lemon and chilli), ‘Fook yu’ (noodles in Thai gravy with meat or seafood) and ‘Six inches of glory’ (sticky rice). Quite. Certain nights of the week you’re invited to sing for your supper (or, at least, shake a tambourine if you require assistance), and every night the staff are cheeky and chirpy.

But what sort of dinner should you expect? An extremely reasonably priced, albeit average one. Still, you’re sure to come out smiling.