Blue Elephant

‘Why did they make fish so difficult to hug?’ my friend pondered as almost every koi in the manmade stream gathered right next to her chair Reviews

Meal Deal
Royal Thai Night

Thai buffet with live cooking stations. Dhs209 (soft drinks) Timings: 6.30pm-11.30pm (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)

© ITP Images

‘Why did they make fish so difficult to hug?’ my friend pondered as almost every koi in the manmade stream gathered right next to her chair. The only creatures that eschewed membership of this fishy fraternity were a golden-skinned misanthrope and a half-dead fish sinking on its side. I spent a large part of the meal marvelling at my friend’s magnetic ways with the city’s piscine population. The fish, evidently, spent a large part of our meal regretting not being able to hug a human.

Occasionally we leave restaurants wanting to hug the chef, the kitchen staff and all the waiters who made our meal so memorable, but sadly this was not one of those occasions. The set menu appeared to include a diverse range of dishes from the à la carte offerings yet we left Blue Elephant yearning for those typical Thai flavours – lemongrass, lime, coriander, galangal, chilli – to tingle on our tongues. The set menu just didn’t seem to offer the right balance of sweet, sour and spicy flavours.

The appetiser platter featured two tiny portions of vermicelli salad with chicken in a lemony dressing, two skewers of chicken satay with a great peanut sauce and a couple of tasty deep-fried spring rolls. The subsequent tom yam koong was fearsomely spicy and proudly prawn-laden but served in tiny portions. The main courses disappointed. The meat in the massamam – a curry from the south of Thailand featuring braised lamb and potatoes in a dark brown sauce – was a little too chewy. We fished two pieces of deep-fried hammour out of a thick and sticky garlic and chilli sauce and didn’t think much of a very straightforward curry, stir-fried chicken with ginger and mushroom. The pad thai was fine, if rather lukewarm, but the dessert was pathetic, a fruit salad (90 per cent melon) with a scoop of generic vanilla ice cream – the sort of dessert you get in prison, my friend (who hasn’t been to prison) stated.

Service wasn’t particularly good either; our meal was disturbed by a woman from Oxygen handing out flyers for the hotel’s nightclub, and when we tried to pay the bill, a staff member practically begged us to fill out voting forms nominating Blue Elephant as the city’s best Thai restaurant. If you can stay away from the lobby end it’s a pretty restaurant and while they’re not busy electioneering the staff are very sweet. But ultimately neither of us were very impressed by the set menu’s offerings.

The bill (for two)
Thai ice tea Dhs21
Fruit fantasy mocktail Dhs21
Large water Dhs12
2x Symphony set menu Dhs298
Total (including service) Dhs352

By Matthew Lee
Time Out Dubai,

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


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Blue Elephant On The Map

User reviews

  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Romantic

User reviews:

Posted by: Jasmine Cosh on 22 Apr ' 12 at 08:52
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

we went for the evening buffet on a thursday night. The ambience and decor are lovely.

As a vegatarian, there is hardly anything to eat in the buffet. As buffets go, this was incredibly small.

The package price is fine if you are drinking (199) but if you are not, is very expensive. No separate prices for the non drinkers!

Posted by: Zan on 15 Feb ' 12 at 14:50
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Visited the Blue Elephant and was immediately impressed with the picturesque setting n ambience .The Food ,wasn't the best I've ever eaten but the service and the romantic setting make it a must visit and I definitely will visit again.I must add that the selection of salads and desserts is brilliant and the wine list is impressive too.

Posted by: natalie on 14 Aug ' 11 at 16:06
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

A beautiful restaurant, the staff are very attentive, the food is delicious, the drinks are filled up speedily...all in all, fantastic!

One downside as somebody already mentioned is the smoking, no smoking area but it is still worth going, its only two minutes to go outside.

Posted by: Margaret G Beck on 19 Dec ' 10 at 12:18
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

My husband and I were invited to the Blue Elephant for the Thai theme night. We were pleasantly surprized at the variety of food selection, specially that there was sufficient variety of seafood available as well, being the spice lovers we are, we were even able to order special super spicy stir fries which was whipped up by the chef on order!
We personally thought it was good value for money considering that we could order house beverages, water, juices and other canned drinks all inclusive for the 159/- with a wide range of starters, maincourse and dessert, its something we would surely go back to...
The only thing missing was outside sitting area where if you had the need to smoke or had a smoker in your group were stuck till you got out of the hotel to do so.
All in all its a thumbs up and keep it up for Blue Elephant and we hope to have many more delicious nights spent around there for sure!!!

Posted by: Iman on 09 Dec ' 09 at 09:53
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Posted by: Typhoons on 03 Jul ' 09 at 04:20
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

We visited the Blue Elephant last night and while we did not have a reservation, we requested a table for two. This was not our first time in this restaurant and previously we had always reserved a table beforehand, but the restaurant had always had tables empty. So while it was a spur of the moment decision to dine there, we decided to just turn up and take a chance.

We were informed that we could have table but for a maximum 90 minutes, however the restaurant was nearly empty. While it was a buffet we were not looking for a 100 mile an hour Premier League match action, but more a sedate meander through Thai cuisine, with no clock ticking against us.

So we declined and walked away and decided to spend our hard earned cash elsewhere. Times are tough in Dubai, and while the Blue Elephant offers all you can eat and drink, it should not be at the expense of customer service, satisfaction and the general dining experience.

Doing buffet theme nights four nights a week, suggests the ala carte menu is not very good and certainly not a patch on the Blue Elephant in London. On previous visits the food has always been ok but never amazing. There are far superior options for Thai food in Dubai, which offer better value for money and service.

And we will never return to this ageing matriarch

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