Friday Dim Sum Brunch (by Candy Pants)
Place: FIVE Palm Jumeirah
AED 295(Soft beverages)
AED 395 (House beverages)
Timings: 1.00pm- 4.00pm
“The Italians and Spanish, the Chinese and Vietnamese see food as part of a larger, more essential and pleasurable part of daily life. Not as an experience to be collected or bragged about – or as a ritual like filling up a car – but as something else that gives pleasure, like sex or music, or a good nap in the afternoon. “– Anthony Bourdain
Maiden Shanghai is a Modern Chinese restaurant located at the gorgeous Five hotel (previously the Viceroy but rebranded after a public dispute with the hotel operator). Aside from Zheng He’s; there is huge gap in the market for modern Chinese cuisine.
I must confess that I was extremely hesitant to try this brunch, solely because Candy Pants promote it. Their previous brunch at the XL Habtoor was a catastrophe; serving substandard food and nonchalant service.
Against my better instincts, I head over with a group of 5 other guy friends on a sunny Friday afternoon. As we queue up in the long line, I notice that the crowd is predominantly UK based (makes sense given Candy Pants is also UK based). After paying, we are ushered to our table that is located in the upstairs portion of the restaurant; which only consists of approximately 8 tables and a bar. The main dining area and DJ are located downstairs. We immediately request the staff and management to re-locate us, as we have arrived early and there are still empty tables downstairs. We also quickly notice that all the people seated upstairs are also making the same request. The management are either oblivious to the fact that customer would not want to sit upstairs, or neglected to inform customers at the time of reservation (I will let you decide).
After unsuccessfully trying to relocate, we sit down and order the starters:
We are served the following small plates:
- Chili chicken- spicy and tasty, but way too little chicken in the dish
- Crispy prawn and seabass roll- very good dish
- Shredded chicken- not as good as the chili chicken
- Vegetable spring roll- standard uninspiring spring roll
- Steamed spinach with sesame sauce- peronsally I enjoyed the sesame sauce, but nobody else on the table did
- Crispy Shredded beef- nice texture and flavors
- Cheung Fun-served in three varieties: plain, duck, and shrimp. This is a steamed rice noodle roll. Interesting but we did not reorder
At this stage, I must comment on the food service. For 6 above average males, the staff served us a single portion to share. This obviously disappeared within nanoseconds. They did not serve us another unless we asked (and we had to ask multiple times). Given the portions are small, common sense would dictate that they either bring multiple portions of each dish, or serve us a bigger portion single dish.
For Main course, we were served the follow to share:
- Kung Pao Chicken- classic well executed dish
- Sweet & Sour Chicken- fried chicken with slice dragon fruit. Unusual but tasted good
- Prawn, scallops and grouper fillet with silken tofu- very tasty but way too much tofu and not enough seafood
- Wok Braised aubergine with Yuxiang sauce- I absolutely loved this dish!
- Stir fried string beans- nice and spicy
- Stir friend kalian with ginger and garlic- too bitter for my palate
- Yuxiang sauced beef with rice cracker- again the kitchen forgot to serve us this
- Stir fried chicken in black pepper sauce- good sauce
Mains are served with 2 side dishes which were:
- Fried Rice
- Stir fried vegetable noodle
Overall, I really enjoyed the quality of the main dishes. Service again was an issue, with portions inadequate for our tables, and we had to repeatedly ask the staff to bring us more. As you may have noticed, the mains are basically chicken and vegetables dishes. The brunch does offer other dishes (King prawns, Lobster, Duck, and Beef short Ribs) but ask you pay extra for each serving. Given that we are already paying AED 400; I find this completely unreasonable.
- Ice cream
- Mango pudding
- Ginger baked yogurt
- Chocolate Mousse
The Beverage options are as follows:
- Beer: Asahi, Tsing Tao (both bottled)
- Wines: White (Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa). Red (Merlot, Spain) Prosecco Zonin
- Spirits: (Gin, Vodka, Whiskey).
- Cocktails: Pink Dragon (Vanilla Vodka based), Shanghai Sunshine (Tequila based), Candy Yang (Prosecco and Gin), Rush Hour (White wine and Gin).
The cocktails were too sweet and clearly geared towards the ladies. The only positive is that the upstairs bar service is quick and efficient.
after finishing our meal we head downstairs to check out the USP of this brunch; the “disco” atmosphere. Instead we are treated to cheesy music and horrible dancing skills.
Overall, this brunch fails in all criteria; except the quality of food. The motto seems to be” how can we get away with serving you as little as possible but still charge top dollar”. Unless drastic changes are made, we will definitely not be returning.
Commercial music and a crowd that does not really make you want to dance
The cocktails are a major let down.
Really good Chinese food, let down by poor service.
Although there was sufficient number of staff available, organization and structure is completely lacking. Service was abysmal.
Value for Money: 8/20.
All the extra dishes must be included to justify the AED 395 price point.