Review: La Tablita in Dubai Healthcare City
Mexican street food in the middle of Healthcare City, does it work?
Mexico’s street eats are among the most popular in the world, and the latest offering in Dubai, La Tablita, promises to elevate the country’s rich flavours without resorting to any Tex-Mex gimmicks.
Despite being located in the cold and clinical centre of Dubai Healthcare City, La Tablita certainly looks the part. A large counter boasting 16 types of chilli is impressive, as is the friendly service. Most of the staff are Mexican, which adds extra culinary credibility points.
The menu is split into two concepts: the first is a taco shop; the second is a wide selection of specialities and sharing dishes offering everything from sea bass to steaks.
If Mexican street food was Hollywood, corn would be its Meryl Streep: it’s the true star in most of the cuisine’s dishes. Prime examples are La Tablita’s fresh corn tacos, which are crispy bite-size envelopes and well-priced at Dhs15 a pop.
There are 14 flavours to choose from. The taco al pastor is a shawarma-taco hybrid. There’s also a cocoa-marinated mole chicken stew taco, a crispy fish option and a braised duck. A highlight was the Camaron – battered shrimp with a peppery bite and a rich mix of textures.
An extra order of guacamole worked as a perfect accompaniment to the tacos. In particular, the chunky guac’ with beef chorizo and pomegranate (Dhs50) was as good as it sounded.
On the taco menu you’ll also find ceviche – the Acapulco (Dhs55) sees prawns swimming in Maggi sauce, tomato ketchup and orange soda. Weird but wonderful.
The main menu is extensive, with 50 or so dishes to choose from. The chicken fajitas (Dhs89) were well-seasoned and moreish and featured freshly-made tortillas. The waiter taught us the Mexican way of eating them: one-handed. Pick up a fajita and grab whatever filling you can with the same hand, scrunch it all together and eat.
The mango sorbet (Dhs25), served with a topping of apricot jam and chilli flakes, was a Marmite dish: one half of the table adored the odd, slightly savoury flavour. “This is like eating solid perfume,” said the other half, grimacing.
The delight over the Tres leches (Dhs30) was unanimous: the cake was soft, the nut brittle added textural relief and the jalapeño ice cream was just interesting enough. We’ll be back for that.
Final verdict? Well-priced and fantastic service, and while we may not have loved every dish, it’s an education in traditional Mexican food, and a delicious one at that.
Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights Hotel, Healthcare City, Dubai, daily noon until 3pm, 6pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 5531234. Metro: Dubai Healthcare City. dubaicreek.regency.hyatt.com
Atmosphere: Relaxed and lively but still a touch slick
Price: Up to Dhs249 for two