Blue Jade at the Ritz-Carlton, JBR brings you an interactive street food experience.
Grass jelly bubble tea. Cocktails with intriguing names like Hong Zao Swizzle and Hanisakkuru. Brown paper covered tables. Wooden eating utensils. Steaming bowls of Vietnamese pho. Street food in a chic eatery with a sophisticated (and air-conditioned) vibe. That is what Blue Jade is all about.
Perhaps, you have been to Asia.
If you have, you will know that street food is synonymous with the Asian experience. There is nothing quite like ambling up the Golden Gai narrow alleyways in Shinjuku, Tokyo; watching takoyaki and yakitori being grilled to perfection. Or, maybe you’ve wondered the stalls around Hoan Kiam Lake munching on nem and bun-cha in Hanoi, Vietnam. Breathing in the spiced steam of coriander and tamarind.
Then again, maybe you haven’t. But, you are rapidly warming to the idea…
Well, look no further than Blue Jade restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton in Dubai. Where you can experience a myriad of Asian flavours.
Minus the long-haul flight. Or, the dreaded jetlag.
At Blue Jade, you get to sample flavour explosions from all over the East and South-East Asia – including Japan, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand – and if you are the indecisive kind when looking at a menu, then this shindig will definitely appeal. Especially, to those with paradoxical desires and taste buds. As you can pick and choose to your heart’s content.
This dining experience is about what you make it. You can be as social as you like. Each country’s station has a dedicated chef who is happy to chat with you about various items on the menu and answer any questions you have. The bonus being that they can make personal recommendations, which we loved. So, we reckon that this a great choice for a “first date” restaurant. Plus, you get to stand up and move around to the various stations, which we think is fun!
On the other hand, if you after a more chilled and laidback vibe, your dedicated server will take your order. So, it is up to you.
Our server Hai did an excellent job of explaining everything to us. Frederique Page, Manager of Blue Jade, explains that all staff in the restaurant is representative of the countries whose food is being served. So, we were able to ask Hai great questions about which part of Vietnam makes the best bun-cha as well as get his advice on the menu options.
After having a look, we went with Hai’s recommendation and kicked off our meal with the Vietnamese pho. Nice and fresh. It hit the spot. From Japan, our sushi didn’t disappoint. We decided on yellowtail and salmon sashimi. It was great, but it was the maki rolls that caught my attention; with a selection of California, unagi, salmon avocado and vegetable. Vivid to look at. And eat.
Staying in East Asia, our Chinese prawn dumplings were steaming hot. Complementing our minced beef, basil and chili broth from Indonesia. This dish was a standout for me. The ratio of meat to broth was perfect. A real flavorsome and satisfying combination. The basil was uplifting and bright; the texture of the beef was perfect. Lucy opted for a Hanisakkuru cocktail – an infusion of Absolut Mandarin, honeysuckle, lemon and a dash of honey. It’s citrus notes working nicely with this dish as well.
My one regret is that we didn’t get to try the Hong Zao Swizzle – made with Barcadi 8 años, jujube, jujube powder and lemon juice. After a generous serving of chicken satay (served in paper bag), we ran out of space. Plus, we needed to save room for sweets and Vietnamese coffee.
We did briefly toy with the thought of skipping dessert. But, luckily, that idea was vetoed pretty quickly. Opting for the fried bananas was without a doubt the best decision of my week. Maybe, even my month. Super fresh they came served in a paper bag. Now, I know my fried bananas. After years of living in a sub-tropical climate back in South Africa, I was practically raised on them. So, I wasn’t expecting much. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Both of us couldn’t help but put our nose in the bag to breathe in the deliciousness. Heavenly. Definitely, the best I have had in a long time.
Alongside them, we ordered the water chestnuts. Now, these little guys were a delight. If you have never tried them, we highly recommend this option. Lucy was familiar with them after having lived in Malaysia, but it was my first attempt. They are a little chewy and have a gentle sweetness that went well the coconut jelly which was served alongside. One of the more interesting new flavours to have hit my palette in a while.
So, if you in need of some flavour adventure, you cannot go wrong at Blue Jade.