Mega Night in Dubai - Al Bustan Rotana, Dubai

Blue Elephant, the authentic Thai restaurant at Al Bustan Rotana in Dubai has gathered quite a following for its traditional interpretation of dishes. Benihana, also at Al Bustan, has become popular with those wanting a Japanese experience that is not austere and  is simply fun. What if you like both restaurants though? Does that mean dining in one this week and the other the next? Could be costly. This is where Mega Night comes along and combines these two Asian restaurants to offer diners an evening to savour the best of both. My daughter and I recently tried something, that based on initial mutterings, was indeed different and exciting.

On arrival, we learn that there are two seating areas - the open and modern Benihana and the more traditional Blue Elephant. We opt for Blue Elephant. It is an exquisite choice. If you have not been to Blue Elephant you must try it. Dubai is awash with glass, steel and concrete, but when I step into this restaurant there is an incredible sense of calm that washes over me. Greenery, wood and water connect me to the earth again, something not often felt in cities around here because they have developed so quickly. Healthy looking Koi swim in the pond, while orchids break the greenery. Finally, the sound of running water immediately tale me back to my recent travels to Phuket where I experienced this sort of thing in several restaurants. 

I start off my evening with a glass of Fantinel Prosecco, a very nice alternative to the ubiquitous entry-level proseccos that one finds in most restaurants. It is appropriate having prosecco, considering it offers a decent pairing option with Thai food! My daughter, meanwhile, feeling a  bit cold, starts with hot chocolate, nicely served in a Blue elephant tea pot. 

Soon after, we start to explore Mega Night. The two restaurants, with a corridor between them, is connected by creating street food stalls, designed to evoke narrow streets in Bangkok which are lined with all sorts of food stalls. There is a real hustle and bustle here, especially as the restaurants get full and people crowd the corridor - fantastic really. 

The buffet has everything you would want from a Thai-Japanese evening. The best of Benihana - teppanyaki, sushi and sashimi of course, as well as my favourites on the night: chicken tonkatsu - a deep fried piece of chicken in Japanese bread crumbs. Then, the tempura, served as thick, chunky pieces. Also try the yaki soba - my daughter had two servings. On the Thai side, classics like pad thai, green papaya salad, green curry and a live wok station stand out for me. My daughter enjoys the satay - the evening is very child-friendly, with a lot of dishes that will find a home on a child's plate. 

The drinks selection is pretty impressive. Apart from the Fantinel, I also have the option of two reds, two whites and a rosé included in the modest price of 319AED++. Honestly, that is value for money, especially in Dubai. 

Mega Night is brilliantly conceived and just as well executed. With a disturbing trend of evening 'brunches' growing, it was refreshing to see some creativity in action to create something special. Mega Night brings together two of the hotel's top restaurants and offers diners and evening of great Asian cuisine, balanced between live stations and  a set buffet area. Never do I feel I am a theme night which one associates with all day dining restaurants. Two cuisines and one superb price make this a mega night of food and a mega night of savings!

The Essentials
Mega Night at Benihana and Blue Elephant
Mega Night at Al Bustan Rotana
Tuesdays and Thursdays
+971 4 282 0000

AED 219* with soft drinks
AED 249* with selected beverages
AED 319* with premium beverages

Brandon Stoltenkamp

Disclaimer: I was invited by the hotel to try Mega Night. All views are my own.