Review: Taikun, a sultry dinner and a show in Habtoor City
How does this sultry show fare a second time around?
The concept of dinner and a show divides the What’s On office. While some applaud the addition of entertainment, others feel it’s an excuse to underdeliver on the food. But new entries into this genre keep coming, and the latest to join their ranks is Taikun. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Taikun previously existed in Vida Downtown. But after a short hiatus the brand is back at sparkly new spot in Habtoor City.
The new venue has the feel of a sultry supper club, with interiors that give it a burlesque-inspired design. Crimson velvet walls encase the white clothed tables, set with ruby red velvet chairs and each illuminated by flickering candlelight. Accents of gold across the bar only add to the grandeur. The stage is smaller than we expect for a venue of this style, but the restaurant’s intimate size means that every table has a decent view of the action.
A word of warning for the early diner: guests only start arriving from 9pm onwards. So, when we naively arrive at 8pm, we’re sat alone save for the friendly wait staff for almost an hour. But the venue quickly fills up, and by the time the entertainment begins, most tables are occupied. Taikun’s all-singing, all-dancing medley of performances tackle some of the biggest songs in show businesses, ranging from Tina Turner’s The Best to Shirley Bassey’s Big Spender. The choreography might not be as slick as some of its competitors, but that doesn’t seem to bother diners. Each set builds into the next, and by the early hours’ guests are happily joining in, waving napkins and sparklers with gusto.
It’s hard to define the cuisine as anything other than a menu of Dubai crowd-pleasers. Starters like a creamy burrata (Dhs115), a prettily plated beef tartare (Dhs165); and a crunchy flat bread topped with rocket, truffle and aged balsamic (Dhs145) can all be upgraded with one gram of black truffle for Dhs65. Not that they need it. All the dishes are well-balanced and flavourful. A decadent 30-piece display of maki rolls, sashimi and nigiri (Dhs650) arrives theatrically on dry ice, a welcome interlude before mains of wagyu beef tenderloin (Dhs380) and poached sea bass (Dhs210), both of which are enjoyable, but feel a little heavy for the lively setting, while the white wine sauce that coats the sea bass fillet is a touch overpowering.
Desserts leave a lasting impression, and if you order one, let it be the baked Alaska to share (Dhs160), with a soft pistachio sponge topped with peaks of meringue, it’s dramatically presented with a pouring of flaming Cointreau.
Verdict: Taikun is a great setting for a fun-filled night out with friends. Go late, stay until the early hours.
Taikun, Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City, 8pm to 3am Tues to Sat. Tel: (0)50 307 0941. taikundubai.com