With a name like Papaya Salad this restaurant could only be Thai. Yet some of the best dishes it serves are Vietnamese. Located in the Emirates 6 Building between Tasheel and Splash beauty salon, the interior of Papaya Salad is one of the best I have seen for a mid-sized casual dining Asian restaurant. It reminded me so much of my family’s favourite – Thai Chi. I particularly liked the two semi-enclosed dining cubicles towards the rear of the restaurant – perfect for that little extra privacy. It is worth noting that I did not have any trouble finding parking in front of the restaurant and the best news is that it’s still free.
The Papaya Salad kitchen includes chefs from Thailand and Vietnam, and this is reflected in their extensive pictorial menu. Coming in on a blustery, rainy day all I could think of was a hot bowl of soup. I did not expect to be given a choice between Tom Yum and Pho. On a low calorie diet I chose the Pho because a) I love Pho, b) I need noodles and c) Google told me that a medium-sized bowl of pho contains about 350-450 calories – I could probably half that by not having all the noodles. Thankfully my Beef Pho turned out to be one of the three best Pho’s I have had in Dubai, the other two being from Vietnamese Foodies and Hoi An.
The rest of what I ordered were starters and salads, namely Gỏi cuốn (Vietnamese) spring rolls followed by (Thai) chicken satay and finally the signature dish of the restaurant, Papaya Salad (Thai) – all were amazing although some may find the taste of turmeric in the satay too pungent which, by the way, is 100% authentic. They cook their chicken satay perfectly though – soft and succulent. I liked the peanut sauce too. The papaya salad was excellent. It was the only dish I ordered to-go for my wife (who is on a Keto diet). She loved it. And yes, I wacked some off her.
In typical Thai style, service at Papaya Salad was friendly, hospitable and infinitely accommodating. I say that yet the waiter serving my table wasn’t even Thai – he was Filipino – Jemmar. Thai owner-manager Withaya (pronounced wit-haya) was on hand to check in on me. A restaurant is run differently when the owner is on site, the difference is palpable.
I really liked this little place. It will be my default go to Asian when I am in the Qusais area. With several buildings full of Emirates staff, there are perks aplenty but none more so than the very good food, ambiance and service you get at Papaya Salad – worth a visit.
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on email@example.com.