Review: We try dim sum & even mock duck at Hikina in the Lapita Hotel

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There’s a fresh spot in Dubai for dim sum, here’s what to expect…

Lapita is a striking hotel. Inspired by Polynesian culture – and not in a tacky way – it has more than 500 rooms surrounded by Dubai Parks & Resorts. Lapita also has a rooftop bar and four dining options: international restaurant Kalea, Mediterranean at Ari, lounge bites at Palama and Cantonese at Hikina, which we recently visited on a Tuesday evening.

Despite its huge size, Hikina was about half full at 8pm  – not a bad sign in a city with so many alluring – not to mention closer – options for dinner.

While the rest of the hotel follows the Polynesian theme tastefully, the décor in Hikina has a haughty all-day dining feel, with unusually large chairs covered in mustard- and olive-coloured upholstery, shiny floors, with brown wooden beams and pillars. It’s all a little stark, which clashes with the warmth and friendliness of its staff.

The team at Hikina were friendly and efficient.

So what about the food? Well, Chef Bao and his team have done a very good job. We’re not talking life-changing inventiveness here, but it is the sort of Asian (predominantly Chinese) food that restaurants with an eye on the UAE’s multicultural audience have made popular with diners.

We started with several good dim sum: the vegetable (Dhs30) and prawn (Dhs45) cheung fun were both very tasty – the silky rice noodle dough giving way to the firm bite of prawn and shitake mushrooms; the pan fried radish cake (Dhs35) was a delightfully charred cube of creamy radish; and the moreish har gao (Dhs45) was filled with just the right amount of minced shrimp. The crispy duck (Dhs95) is presented differently to what you might normally expect – or hope for. Rather than half a duck, it’s buttered duck breast that’s served with the usual hoisin, cucumber and pancake condiments. It’s not as satisfying as the authentic version, but it’s still a pretty tasty dish overall. We loved the aromatic mock duck version, though (Dhs60). Presented in the same way as its meatier brother, the mock duck is fried marinated bean curd – a clever alternative for vegetarians.

The dough on the dim sum was a definite highlight.

Aside from a more than respectable version of hor fun – beef rice noodles (Dhs65) – mains were solid if not outstanding. Garlic gave the steamed king prawns a nice depth of flavour, but it could have had more fire. The fried beef bao (Dhs60) was OK and a dish of fried udon noodles with bean sprouts (Dhs45) avoided clagginess without reinventing the wheel, or the noodle in this case.

All that for Dhs500 is not at all bad, making Hikina a more than welcome addition to the Dubai dining scene.

Lapita Hotel, Dubai Parks & Resorts, Dubai, daily 6.30pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 8109412. Taxi: Lapita Hotel. marriott.com

RATINGS

Food: B+

Atmosphere: Family friendly, casual

Price: Dhs300 to Dhs500 for two