The Thai Kitchen
Park Hyatt Hotel, Dubai
Bookings: 04 602 1234
Dubai and Tokyo are the only two cities in the world with all three Hyatts, the 'Regency', 'Grand' and boutique 'Park' branded properties. And Dubai's Park Hyatt, although it suffers from being on the 'wrong side of the creek' is certainly a stunner: dazzling white, mediterranean exteriors together with funky nouveau Arabesque interiors , amazing service standards and very high production values all round make this an exceptional hotel even in a city of five star hotels.
Having heard bad things of the Thai Kitchen, we approached it with caution. And got the surprise of our lives. It's a must-do evening out: we've been back time and time again.
The restaurant itself is down on the creekside level, which means its next to the pleasant and uber-funky seafood bar by the creek - great for a drink before dinner. It's darkly decorated but well-enough lit, laid out in the 'eat among the kitchens' style and so pleasantly noisy with plenty of watch-the-chef theatre verité going on. The staff are great. But the food... oh the food.
The menu is extensive and incredibly inexpensive (about Dhs 30, or $9, for each item in the mains, for instance), but then the waiter will warn you that the portions are tiny. So you order a lot of things. Given that every one of them is distinctive and delicious, the act of dipping in and out of the array of dishes scattered on the table (arguably too small for this kind of thing) quickly becomes a shared delight, with lots of 'Try this one' stuff going on. Pretty soon you're caught up in a whirl of salty soys and fragrant, citrus lemon grass; astringent kaffir lime and dark palm syrups, red and green, sweet basil aniseed and narcotic coconut.
But the biggest surprise of all comes last with an average two persons and good wine slipping in at under $150.