We all love Chinese food and if like me you’re more than partial to a crispy duck pancake, we have the answers to your prayers.
The Sofitel, nestled on the very tip of Palm Jumeirah offers a special menu every Thursday and Friday at its resident Chinese restaurant, aptly titled ‘Peking Duck Nights’. Now, as you can imagine it’s pretty self-explanatory. There’s duck, in fact there’s a whole lot of duck.
The hotel is a luxurious 5-star property that is becoming quite a hit on the culinary scene thanks to its fantastic restaurants, Hong Loong is one of these. The restaurant offers traditional Chinese fare and places an emphasis on mixing classic Oriental dishes with a contemporary twist. After you are whisked up in the elevator you are greeted by a giant smiling Buddha statue, this is obligatory it seems in any restaurant that serves dishes from the Far East. The overall feel however, isn’t your typical Chinese eatery, the only thing that nods to tradition here is the large red lanterns hanging proudly over the minimilistic interior.
The decor is very clean, very modern and almost industrial. The exposed brick of the walls contrasting against the upholstered red pillars and gleaming floor. The light wood furniture stops the restaurant being too dark as the lights are low, your food lit up by flickering candle light and the live cooking station that takes prime position in the forefront of the restaurant. It’s fun to watch the chefs in action, adding a hint of entertainment which would otherwise be quite a quiet dining experience.
What the restaurant perhaps lacks in atmosphere it more than makes up for with it’s food, which is after all why you are there. Of course there is an extensive a la carte menu as well which mixes signature dishes and new favourites but I wanted to try the much-talked about Peking Duck menu, which priced at AED460 for two guests was actually quite good value for a restaurant on The Palm.
The Peking Duck evenings are dedicated to the celebration of the famous duck dish originating from Bejing with a fun (and huge) themed menu. The menu is exclusive of drinks but the attentive staff are more than happy to recommend the very best beverages to match the menu. It’s always a pleasure to visit a venue where the staff are not only knowledgeable in the dishes that they are serving but also excited about them.
The energy rubs off and to start you are served Peking duck skin, pancakes with a homemade special sauce. We all love a duck pancake but these truly are fantastic. The sauce is rich but not over-bearing and there is just the right amount of food for two people, perhaps even slightly too much. Swiftly following is a soup. The soup is a hot & sour duck, tofu rich soup with wonton dumpling and Chinese baby cabbage. It’s delicious, just beware of the lurking peppers! It’s hot, spicy and is a great take on duck in Chinese cuisine.
For main course there’s more duck, in the form of chunky duck meat with a choice of sauce. You can pick anything from spicy black bean to Superior king soya, being a massive BBQ fan, I opted for Chinese BBQ sauce and I couldn’t recommend more. This rich, sticky sauce gave me another take on what I assumed would be yet another duck dish. The duck meat comes with three accompanying dishes that compliment perfectly. Stewed duck with mixed mushroom is served in a clay pot and tastes completely different to the duck meat, in fact you would assume it was an entirely different meat. Stewed cabbage and steamed sticky rice in lotus leaves complete this fantastic course.
Now Chinese food is not known for its desert expertise but the green apple jelly with a crispy custard dumpling on the side exceeded any expectations and was actually rather good, a pleasing palette cleanser, anything else would have been too heavy after such a hearty meal.
All in all the food is fantastic and service was unfaultable. It was a little quiet for a Thursday evening and the clientele were mostly hotel guests which is surprising due to the high quality of the food. I left with the rather smug thought that I had found a hidden gem, I doubt however, it will stay that way for long once the word gets out.
Click here to visit the website
Pecking Duck Nights take place every Thursday and Friday from 7pm
For reservations call 044 55 56 56 or contact email@example.com