China Bistro is a hugely popular Indian Pan-Asian chain of restaurants. Owned by Sanjay Vazirani’s Foodlink, this new branch in Discovery Gardens is their second in Dubai, the first (of course) being in Karama. Located in Zen Building 19 on Street 1, its interior follows the modern corporate uniform of the original branch from the pastel, teal-coloured walls down to their signature black cutlery. I find it a welcome change from the red and gold with Chinese calligraphy and hanging lanterns stereotype so many Asian restaurants use.
China Bistro’s menu is unashamedly Indo-Chinese and as such includes as many veg items as non-veg. I resisted the temptation of ordering my favourite Khow Suey, best described as the Burmese version of Laksa, as I find it overshadows everything else. Instead, Soheil and I started with the Fire Roasted Mandarin Chicken, Prawn Har Gao and Chicken Basil Dumplings before moving on to Kung Pao Prawns which we had with Egg Fried Rice and Wok Tossed Hakka Noodles. The star of the show was the theatrical Fire Roasted Mandarin Chicken – five mini skewers of beautifully spiced, bite sized pieces of chicken (like satay) served on a smoking grill. This is a starter which can easily be had as a main. I found the noodles a little bland, so our amazing Nepali waiter (Kishan) rushed them back to the kitchen for the chef (also Nepali) to whack in some fiery Schezwan sauce – yeah baby!
I found this at the other branch too, they take customer satisfaction very seriously at China Bistro. So much so, that everything I took issue with was either spiced up or replaced – at no extra cost. I hope diners don’t take advantage of this curtesy. I think it also shows how far this restaurant is prepared to go to keep its diners happy. Note, I was not paid for this review nor did anyone there know that I am a blogger. And I remember receiving the same treatment at their original branch in Karama.
Service was so good that I almost feel embarrassed to say, even with dishes being changed and spiced up, I still did not like the food – the dumplings were wet and soggy, the kung pao had five spice (really?) and the original noodles were way, way too bland. That’s everything except the rice and chicken satay – hardly what one would call a balanced showing. I am purposely not bringing their amazing desserts into play as you don’t really come to an Asian restaurant for the desserts, do you? Knowing this chain though, I shall put it down to new branch jitters and will schedule another visit to (hopefully) prove myself right.
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Xerxes (pronounced Zûrk’seez) 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 his culinary journey on Instagram: @ravenousxerxes or reach out to him via email on email@example.com.