So, last Friday (yes, weekends are Friday and Saturday here) my family headed to Shangri La Dubai to check out the weekend a-la-carte buffet offered at the Vietnamese restaurant Hoi An. (I sincerely apologise about the quality of the photos, the lighting and everything made it a bit difficult but this is what I have)
As usual, unedited shots on my blog, edited shots on my IG @bibzeats
Is it Halal?
As usual, a bit hard to ascertain this in Dubai - but I believe it is. No pork items on the menu, and nowhere really does it indicate otherwise, so yeah.
Disclaimer: I do this because this is a Malaysian food blog and is used quite often as a reference point in the context of Malaysia.
Where it Is
I’m not quite sure how to describe it because it is quite an isolated building, but I think for this one you’re going to have to just GPS around to find this one. You’ve got free parking and valet services offered here (I’m not sure if you have to be a paying customer or not, but I believe you do.
Address: Shangri La Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Rd Near Financial Metro Station - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
The brunch promotion runs from 12:30pm to 4pm on Fridays and Saturdays (I recommend booking in advance just in case, because it is quite popular).
What it Costs
It costs AED185 if you’re just consuming food, AED205 if you want soft drinks (Sprite, Coca-Cola, can drinks and local water included - non-sparkling), and AED310 if you want alcohol. My family went with the AED205 one just to get water and a can drink, and I think adding AED20 for drinks in Dubai is probably still a pretty decent deal.
So here’s my usual Entertainer pitch to everyone. I use it in Malaysia and my mum uses it in Dubai. You actually pretty much NEED this app for Dubai (I would say you even save money by using it just as a tourist). Especially if you’re in a group of 2/4. If you don’t know what it is, it is basically spending AED495 (the promotion I’m looking at right now is AED195 - depends on when you get it) and getting loads and loads of 1-for-1 deals.
Helps me find places to eat and save money and basically a splendid app that I talk about a lot. (To the point that I feel I should be paid for the endorsement XD - Not paid). But if you WOULD like to support me and get an additional 10% off whatever deal is on at the moment, click on the link right here to get that special discount (and help fund the running of this website!)
We used two Entertainer discount codes here - meaning the bill for people came up to just AED410, so I pretty much cannot understate how useful this application can be (pretty much pays off the cost of getting the app just by having this meal!)
What it Tastes & Consists Of
There are kinda two ways you can approach this. They recommend getting you one portion of everything on the menu - like one piece of all the starters and one portion of the entrees, pho, salads and desserts. If you like anything you can just order the one that you liked and they’ll get it for you in a moment.
So talking about the starters. The few in particular that my family enjoyed were:
1) Cha Ca (Deep-fried fish cake with coriander and bread crumbs)
This one is just a simple fried fish cake, but really tasty and crunchy, making it one of our general favourites - we got 2 portions of this.
2) Hoanh Thanh Tom Hum (Canadian lobster, shiitake mushrooms and dried scallops with coconut and mango sauce)
I feel like this one tasted good, but is one of those where we had to check whether it was the one with Canadian lobster. Overall, really tasty - never really had Canadian lobster in that dumpling kind of style.
3) Goi Cuon Tom Ga (Vietnamese rice paper rolls with chicken, shrimp and home-made fish sauce)
One of my personal picks. This one is just one of those dishes that go really well as a whole. The rice paper rolls are REALLY yum.
Personally, I recommend just going through the menu up to the desserts before deciding whether you want to have any seconds, because you have a lot of dishes to go through.
Onto the Pho.
They have basically 2 versions - one is the beef one and one is the chicken variant. I feel as though the beef one is a bit richer in the taste, with the chicken one being a bit of a milder version. My dad personally liked the beef version, and my mum went with the chicken variant - but if you ask me, I would say I like the richness of that beef version. Really tasty, really clean - which is why it is so delicious.
Salads wise, I personally felt was a bit meh. They have 2 - one is the papaya salad, and one is a angus beef salad with coriander. I feel as though Vietnamese salads are a bit stronger - I like my papaya salads having that stronger taste - but my mum thought it was nice because it was a bit milder (as you can see, a recurring theme in this post), so I guess it is up to your taste buds here. Generally, the beef salad was a bit meh for my family though.
To the part you guys were probably waiting for, the mains!
I feel as though a lot of the mains have more of a Chinese feel to them rather than Vietnamese. The Muc Xao (wok-fried spicy squid), Ga Xao Sa Ot (Wok-fried Chicken with chilli, onions and XO sauce) and Tom Rim Cot Dua (Pan-fried prawns with spicy sambal sauce) kinda scream something in the more Chinese territory, but I guess there is some overlap.
For me, the two stars would be the Bo Nuong Sa Sot Sam (Grilled beef striploin) - which was soft and just delicious, like most cuts of beef - and the Ca Nuong La Sen (oven-baked sea bass with onion and ginger) - this one they don’t even do much to the fish, but it gives off a kind of cod fish-esque taste which I appreciated and enjoyed. Those two are probably where most of the price probably comes from as well.
They also have a decent fried rice with chicken and shrimp for all you folks that need a bit of carbohydrates to finish off the meal.
My family absolutely loved their desserts.
You have firstly a mango puree with coconut ice cream - this one has a really fresh taste to it. The mango almost overpowers that mild coconut taste - but we got a separate serving of coconut ice cream alone to appreciate the flavour of that ice cream.
The sago with taro was a bit meh for me, but that’s the second dessert on offer at this weekend brunch.
7.5/10. I think you cannot get away from the fact that you have to appreciate this as a whole - 50 flavours of Vietnam - rather than for a star dish. If you asked me, I would say none of the main dishes blew me away, but rather this is a really cohesive brunch buffet whereby you get to try a whole lot of different things, which I really enjoyed. On the cheaper side if you throw in the Entertainer discounts and overall, just a really nice meal!