Review: Wise Kwai, a hidden slice of Thai in Dubai
A Thai restaurant in a Thai-owned hotel – it must be good, right?
DusitD2 Kenz Hotel. While the name of the new hotel brand from Dusit International might not roll off the tongue, that of the signature Thai restaurant inside certainly does. Named after one of Thailand’s greatest film and theatre journalists, Wise Kwai really is as fun as it sounds.
From the ceiling (psychedelic disc-shaped chandeliers) and the wall (hanging cameras, old reels, enormous Hollywood-style vanity mirrors) to the windows (gilt-fringed purple and pink curtains), nothing quite matches. But everything somehow jives, down to the reupholstered cinema seats, multi-coloured doors, and vintage movie-printed mats.
The dishes, lovingly composed by charming chef Anan Tumya, are designed to be eaten family style. Start with the strips of marinated crispy beef (Dhs45), a chef’s special and deservingly so. Each bite-size chunk is lightly frosted with roasted rice to give it a moreish, crunchy coating. The Thai green long bean salad (Dhs60), which arrives in four-tiered, colourful tin boxes (with noodles, salad, corn salsa, and long beans with cashews and chilli), was a fun and flavourful dish. Those shy of spice, beware, as this little dish packs a punch.
The vegetarian spring rolls were encased in a perfectly crisp coating, but didn’t need the overly sweet dip. One dish in particular that hit all the right notes was the pla rad prik (Dhs115), whole deep fried fish, butterflied and brushed with chili, basil and kaffir lime leaf. It tasted equally tart, sweet, spicy and utterly addictive.
Leave room for the massaman gae (Dhs75). The slowly braised lamb and potato in a mild peanut curry sauce is a particular highlight.
Sticky rice and mango, always a nice way to end a meal, was no better and no worse than the millions that have gone before it, but the chef’s homemade chili ice cream was, as promised, something special. If there was ever a dish to sum up an entire meal it was here in this heaped scoop: casual, homemade, with a cheeky side order of spice.
DusitD2 Kenz Hotel, Barsha Heights, Dubai, Sun to Thur 12.30pm to 3pm, 6.30pm to 11pm, Fri and Sat 12.30pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 5672247. Metro: Internet City. wisekwai.com
*Please note, some restaurant timings may be affected by Ramadan. We recommend calling before visiting.