“After a full belly all is poetry.” ― Frank McCourt
Let alone the food, I just cannot get over the location of this gem of a place. Located in Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, It is possible that you can miss spotting this restaurant.
Royal Orchid specialises in Thai and Chinese cuisine and boy they sure definitely nail it! I have been coming here if not regularly, over the past 4 to 5 years. To be specific, their Dubai Festival City branch (which is now temporarily/ permanently closed).
There is a beautiful out door arrangement to sit and dine where you have this romantic feel to it, with soft curtains and cushiony seatings. While the indoors are divided into two; one for the smokers and the other for non-smokers. Royal Orchid serves sheesha as well, for the sheesha lovers. Also, they have an open kitchen where you can see them stir – frying and playing with fire.
Before we ordered for the soups and starters, the got us prawn crackers with three delicious sauces. Upon requesting, they got us some rice crackers as well. We asked our sweet and attentive server to re fill our sauces at least two times. It was that yummy!
What we ate:
- Started off with both VEG and PRAWNS TOM YAM SOUP [30 / 38dhs]: This is my absolute favourite Thai soup. Any branch you go to, they will serve you the famous Tom yam soup without the taste varying. Thinking about it, I am salivating and its 5 in the morning. Who craves soup in the morning? The right amount of spices and sourness and well cooked shrimps and vegetables makes this my favourite soup hands down. I’d suggest if there are two of you atleast, you should go for the 1 by 2 as the soup is quite filling.
- GREEN MANGO SALAD [30dhs]: This could be my biased opinion, honestly but I have always, I repeat ALWAYS loved PAPAYA SALAD [30dhs] more than any salad. So when we thought we would get the mango salad instead, I just knew it I would not be a fan. I was not. But then again, green mango is not my thing. I love the sweetness the un ripe papaya brings to the game. Green mango was just a no – no for me. The foundation of both the salads are same though. It is again, deliciously sour, sweet and spicy salad. It is different and I would rather you try it for yourself.
- CRISPY HONEY CHICKEN [32dhs]: The soup, the salad and the crispy honey chicken has always been my starter and soup-salad combo. I cannot have it any other way. The crispy honey chicken is all sorts of yummy. The chicken is thinly shredded/ cut and crispy throughout in honey and sauce and topped with some sesame. The quantity is good enough for two. You would want to try pairing it with the coriander and lemon sauce which then makes it out of this world.
- We were STUFFED with all this when our main course arrived, starting with HAKKA NOODLES (veg) [38dhs]. Oh these noodles though. I am not a fan of noodles when I have to have it outside, they just do not taste nice. So I almost always end up having the steamed/ jasmine rice. But these noodles were made to perfection. And the veggies that accompanied were SO mouth watering. So we just had to order one more. It was the four of us, so ordering for two was just about the perfect quantity. I would totally recommend this in your main course. Probably veg or non-veg, whatever is your preference.
- I almost always get my main curries in Red or Green and then as I wish, I choose which curry does the chicken go in and in which the veggies. So this time we tried something different. We tried the VEGETABLES in RED CURRY [42dhs]. I have always been a fan of their red/ green thai curries. They are so creamy with the coconut milk and the flavoursome red curry paste. These two major condiments are cooked to perfection with bite size pieces of your choice of meat or the vegetables. This curry is enough for two and it comes to your tables kept on a small ceramic holder which a small lit candle to keep your curry hot throughout. I like the green curry just a tad bit more though the curries are delicious none the less.
- For chicken, we thought of having the DICED CHICKEN WITH BASIL AND CASHEW (kai phad keapao) [50dhs]: I guess I jinxed the evening by going on and on and on about how the food was simply delicious. There was something about this dish I did not like. I loved the pieces of chicken, they were so tender and juicy. I loved their vegetables too especially the baby corn! But there was an after taste which tasted like something was burnt BUT it was not. The theme of this dish was a hint of sweetness, a little bit of bitter.. just a hint, you can hardly taste it and a bit of sourness. I loved the basil in the dish – it tasted so flavour full and yummy. I somehow seemed to like it much into my meal when I mixed a bit of the coriander and lemon sauce.
- Jasmine Rice [18dhs]: Was basic and good too. It can be shared by two people if not more. The server said that one serving was enough for one, maybe if you’re not accompanying any noodles or fried rice with that.
Boy what an gastronomic experience it was. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Do I see myself going here again, YES. One of my favourite places to dine in Dubai.
I read a lot of reviews on Zomato where people complained about their food arriving late to the table and that was not the situation with us. And that too when we were famished – where one minute of waiting seems like 20 minutes. I loved the service they provided us with. Very attentive and sweet.
loved; Tom Yum Soup and Crispy Honey Chicken.
notsomuch; Diced Chicken in Basil and Cashew.
Ambience: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Service: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Pricing: ♦ ♦ ♦
Eating Experience: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Over All: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦