Lao Restaurant experience has been on my back logs for almost a month now since obviously, I have been buried to other things beneficial for a living. BUT, I’ve been meaning to definitely write a review about this precious gem hidden somewhere in Dubai.
Lao Restaurant is a Vietnamese slash Asian restaurant resting in Waldorf Astoria The Palm. Originally, we are eyeing to dine at Social by Chef Heinz Beck but they are not operating during Ramadan (something lamentable). So, since the hotel is far off downtown our only option is to choose between restaurants inside the hotel. My good friend, who’s a Waldorf baby suggested this restaurant to us hence this is where hubby and I had our anniversary dinner.
I fancy Asian cuisine, given Japanese, Korean and Chinese but this is my first time to try Vietnamese cooking which I pretty much looked forward. As a staple routine, checking in Zomato is a good way to start and check what to expect before dining in Lao Restaurant. The reviews were awesome thus the expectation lifted the bar. A piece of a note, if you plan to visit and dine, before dragging your ass into the restaurant, a table booking is a must (felt a bit fancy there) and a smart casual ensemble is essential!
Lao Restaurant is located in the lower ground level of the hotel just before hitting out the pool and beach. It is facing the gargantuan elegant staircases and just opposite Mezzerie, which is another restaurant that offers buffet. Entering, we were greeted by Asian looking people (I so belong here). The entire space was dim lighted which creates a bit of a romantic feels, perfect for our celebration isn’t it? It was around 9 pm when we went and the whole restaurant was packed and busy.
We ordered soft shell crab, lamb chops, crystal shrimp dumplings,lotus rice, grilled chicken and 2 glass of rose wine. I feel like Vietnamese cuisine is very much into coriander that almost all of the items that we’ve ordered either have coriander mixed in it or has a coriander sauce on the side. Anyhow, as a self-confessed coriander hater, we have them replaced with something else.
Soft shell (AED 40) crabs are the bomb! I really loved it and I think was one of the highlight of dining extravaganza. It is very tasty and true to its name, very soft to eat and does taste well with the tamarind sauce. Crystal Prawn dumpling (AED 36 4 pcs.) taste as authentic a dumpling can get! It’s almost the same taste and texture with Din Tai Fung’s dumplings. Lamb Chops (165) are okay but not really something to be in awe for. I have tasted lamb chops from other restaurants that taste far better than what Lao have. Lotus rice (AED 20), I really don’t know what this is, it was my husband who wanted to order this since he likes eating such dish and knows Asian cuisine better than I do. The taste for me is weird, although its tolerable. It’s not bad nor good, it’s just there lying in between of what could have been. Lastly, grilled chicken (AED 95). What can I say? Well, it tastes like chicken that is grilled. Nothing fancy about this. The only thing that strikes me about Lao Restaurant food was the soft shell crab, really delicious.
With the price, I would say that it is expensive because the serving is not that huge compared to others. I had three portion of lamb chops, yes, but they’re very small in terms of size. Soft shell crabs left me salivating because of again, its portioning.
Service is what Lao stands out! Just excellent, friendly, attentive and accommodating servers you have! Ambiance is amazing, perfect for a dinner date with a theater kind of kitchen, hence you can see live action cooking, such fun!
All in all, Lao is a great place to try, but not to eat your heart out.
Me and Hubby at Lao Restaurant
Grilled Chicken with Sticky Rice
Shrimp Crystal Dumpling
Soft Shell Crab