At Jumeirah Restaurant Week last week, Poul and I managed to score a table at beautiful Pai Thai on Thursday night. Jumeirah Restaurant Week is an annual recurring event, during which the restaurants in Jumeirah Restaurant Group offer prix-fixe menus at a discounted price.
I’ve been curious about Pai Thai for a long time, but I’m a spontaneous diner, and Pai Thai usually requires reservations weeks in advance, if you’re looking for a table on a weekend night.
Besides, Pai Thai is also rather pricey, and when it comes to Thai food, I’m not a fan of shelling out hundreds of dirhams for what’s often just plain street food, which I know I can get on every corner in Bangkok at a superior quality for a fraction of the price.
Poul gets really annoyed when I compare the Thai food here in Dubai with the Thai food in Thailand. “You’ll need to add a plane ticket to that 80THB Pad Thai in Bangkok”, he argues “and street food is served on the street. Of course you pay extra for the nice surroundings in the upscale Thai restaurants in Dubai”. I know it’s true, but I still can’t help it.
Pai Thai is situated in beautiful Madinat Jumeirah on a secluded spot away from the other restaurants, and you take one of the small gondolas to get there. We got a wonderful table right next to the water, and we were both immediately overwhelmed by how beautiful and romantic the restaurant was.
I had pomelo salad and pad thai, while Poul had chicken satay and fried fish. For dessert I ordered tab tim krob (water chestnut) while Poul chose sticky rice with mango.
The food was good, but not excellent and I think Pai Thai had adapted the Thai flavors to Western taste buds to a degree that made some of the dishes slightly bland to spice-aficionados like me. The mocktails were much too sweet for my taste, but the desserts were both very good, and even though the tab tim krob wasn’t the most visually appealing dish, the taste was authentic and refreshing.
The staff members were all very nice and didn’t differentiate between a la carte diners and Restaurant Week cheapskates like Poul and I. The restaurant week menu was 180AED per person, and our total bill including 2 mocktails and a bottle of sparkling water was 430AED.
As I’ve already mentioned, the location was outstanding, so even though I’ve had better, less expensive Thai food both in Thailand and in Dubai, I wouldn’t hesitate to go back, but I might wait until Jumeirah Restaurant Week and another round of discounted menus next year.