Maiden Shanghai

Pan-Chinese dining that’s not quite worth the price tag
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Time Out Says

Chinese cuisines are often some of the most affordable and easily impressive on the planet, so there can’t be many bigger challenges than creating a justifiably high-end restaurant that trots through the provinces.

In its setting, Maiden Shanghai is absolutely on track, with a smart mixed drinks bar, secluded private dining rooms and a sultry, brass-trimmed main restaurant downstairs. However, there’s little in the overall execution of the food here to set it apart, which only makes its higher-end-of-high-end prices all the more indigestible.

There’s some good variety on the menu, specifically when it comes to mains (this is a restaurant that draws influence from Cantonese, Sichuan, Shanghai and Beijing styles). Though with the exception of the vegetarian section, the average price of those is around Dhs150. The cheapest – sweet and sour chicken – clocks in at Dhs105, and the most expensive – kung pao lobster – at Dhs490.

We begin to place our order with one eye on the bill, accepting a suggestion from our waiter on the mains, but resisting when he pushes the “signature” Bing’s Peking Duck, a whopping Dhs495 for the whole bird – what we eventually pay for the entire meal.

Starters are beautifully presented, but a bite into the fried salt and pepper squid leaves oil running down our chin. Steamed spinach, served artistically in a neatly shorn bunch, fares better, but an abundance of sesame sauce makes the dish heavy and quite sickly.

Onwards to mains, and the vegetarian aubergine with yu xiang sauce – fragrant, well-balanced and impossible to leave alone – is a table-wide hit. And at Dhs65, it’s one of the best-value dishes of the night. But it throws the Dhs190 kung pao prawns into even sharper contrast – some of most expensive we’ve eaten anywhere, and simultaneously the most underwhelming.

Maiden Shanghai may take you on a journey across China, but you won’t have to travel far in Dubai to find better cooking at keener prices.

The Bill (for two)
1x salt and pepper squid Dhs55
1x sesame spinach Dhs50
1x kung pao prawns Dhs190
1x aubergine with yu xiang Dhs65
1x kai lan with ginger Dhs70
1x steamed rice Dhs30
1x large water Dhs35
Total (excluding service) Dhs495

The bottom line
Overly pricey eats on the Palm Jumeirah.

By Time Out Dubai staff  | 07 Aug 2017

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Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, No 1 Palm Jumeirah Dubai - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

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