A journal, inspired by my love for my daughter, that embraces quality food, service and experiences which make life worth living. In the words of Tennyson's Ulysses, " I cannot rest from travel. I will drink life to the lees." Seeking that incredible dining or hotel experience and writing about it. Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Lemongrass Thai restaurant - Mushriff Mall, Abu Dhabi
There are rare occasions when I write about mall restaurants. I make exceptions when I see that a restaurant is trying to offer people a quality product that ultimately gives parents especially, an alternative to junk food outlets in food courts. Lemongrass is one of those restaurants that I believe brings that to the dining scene in malls after my first visit a few years ago. It was against that backdrop that I visited their Mushriff Mall branch.
Lemongrass is bright but earthy and airy, thanks to the large windows. Light wood and yellow walls create that sense of openness. The wicker chairs too convey a sense of happiness because they are lightly but naturally coloured. Where mall restaurants tend to be unnaturally lit, they have used their decor smartly here.
2. Thai food
I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Prajak who oversees a team of Thai chefs. I also met several Thai waitresses. That is very impressive if you consider that a number of hotel Thai restaurants struggle to keep Thai staff. There is no doubt that people would rather eat Thai food created by a Thai chef, because it is obviously more authentic, real. Chef tells me that he has had to modify some dishes to local preferences but he is happy to make something that will take his guests back to Thailand.
3. Our dishes
The menu offers not only variety but also great value. It is a very customer friendly menu that is so easy to follow. My daughter was given a children's menu and while we checking our menu, she was colouring away on the kids' amenity provided by the restaurant.
We ordered a the Lemongrass Set to begin with - a platter of Thai classics such as Vegetable spring rolls, marinated chicken in pandan leaf, glass noodle salad with minced chicken, prawn cake and chicken satay served with assorted dips. These dishes would have fitted into many a high end restaurant to which I have been. The pandan chicken was perfectly cooked, with that chicken nice and juicy. The spring rolls had a beautiful crispiness about them, but not overdone crispiness. The set is quite large for two people. Highly recommended, especially for those new to Thai cuisine.
We also ordered the Papaya salad. Fresh and mildly spicy, with that dried shrimp coming through nicely in that lime juice. We then ordered the Guay Tiew Kiew Wan, Wok-tossed flat noodle with chicken and seafood in green curry flavour with basil. That basil taste was delicately balanced with the chili from the green curry flavour. Delicious. Finally, for dessert my first choice was not available as the mangoes had just been flown from Thailand that day and needed another day or two, so we had the Kao Niaw Sankaya,Sweet sticky rice with coconut custard and Tako HaewSweet sago and water chestnut in sweet coconut custard. I liked the density of the sweet sticky rice in the first and the crunch of the chestnut in the second. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Lemongrass showed me again that if people thought a little about their food choices in malls, they could have a wonderful experience. The service is very warm and relaxed with staff giving the type of service you will never get in food court of course. It gives families amongst others that feeling that their kids are eating well in a non rushed environment where children can see that malls are not all about hamburgers. It is definitely worth paying a little extra .