Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dubai Restaurant Review: Thai Chi, Wafi

In a nutshell: mediocre food and disappointing service.

I was really looking forward to dinner at Thai Chi as it's a restaurant that has been on my list for years, however I was sorely disappointed. Their slogan is 'two restaurants under one roof' as they offer both Thai and Chinese food - hence the name. The decor is decidedly more Thai than Chinese (temple style ceiling details and pale wood tables with leather chairs) and the restaurant is huge with a massive outdoor area as well as indoors - we sat inside since Simon was only in shorts and t-shirt and it was a little bit nippy. They seemed fairly busy outside but we were the only people inside so there was a distinct lack of atmosphere, I did like that they were playing Thai / Chinese music though.

Not being ravenous, we decided to share a starter and then order 2 main courses to share. Plus, we had our Entertainer voucher so we needed to order 2 main courses in order to get one free! The table we were ushered to initially had no light above it - we noticed that numerous ceiling lights had blown all through the restaurant and not been replaced - so when our satay arrived I couldn't get a good photo of it. Not only that but I was not 100% confident that the centre of the chicken pieces was cooked through as they had a slightly pink look, although it was hard to tell properly in the dim light. When I told the waitress that I'd left a fair bit of chicken because it didn't seem to be cooked properly but that I couldn't see properly in the dark, she didn't seem too worried about the chicken issue although she offered to move us to a different table. To be fair to her, she was a trainee - although after 4 months I would have expected her to be out of her training period and this just shows to me that she hasn't been getting an appropriate amount of training.

At our new, properly-lit table, our duck pancakes and sweet & sour prawns with lycee and pineapple arrived. Peking roasted duck should be slow-cooked so that all the fat melts away leaving crispy skin and succulent duck, sadly their duck had a thick layer of fat on it - similar to my experience at Noodle House a few months ago but at least there the price was not a 5-star one. The pancakes were also all stuck together which always adds a tricky edge to your meal as you attempt to pry them apart without ripping them into shreds! The prawns were tasty but I didn't find them any better than the almost identical Noodle Factory dish we had a couple of months ago - at shopping mall prices.

In terms of Thai Chi's prices, their starters were all about Dhs 60 or so and the strange thing was that all their side dishes of vegetables, noodles and rice were also about Dhs 60! Main courses ranged from Dhs 90-120 which is what you'd expect from this sort of restaurant. My biggest shock came when I saw they had added 10% service charge to the bill - to my understanding this is not allowed in Dubai anymore. I only realised this after I'd paid but I decided that questioning it would only bring blank stares from the staff and irritation on my part so I didn't bother. All in all a disappointing experience that I won't be repeating.


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