Succulent Thai at Sukhothai
Despite being close to the Dubai Airport and right along a busy thoroughfare, the Le Meridien Hotel has a sense of serenity about it. This applies to many of the restaurants there as well, and especially those in the Meridien Village, located behind the main hotel. Once you make your way back there, you’ll have forgotten you’re in a bustling metropolis. Sukhothai sits in one corner of the Village, with a beautiful pagoda façade.
The interior of the restaurant continues that theme with a pagoda structure that covers the length of the dining room. It isn’t a very expansive space, but it certainly doesn’t feel cramped. The combination of soft lighting and warm wooden tones has a relaxing effect, and though it looks a bit busy due to the various Thai artifacts placed around the room, that doesn’t take away from the atmosphere.
My server brings along an iPad with different menu selections on it, and I’m pleased to see that there’s a separate vegetarian menu. The majority of my meal is ordered from this menu, but it is suggested to me that I try the Tom Yum soup, one of their specialties. Though it’s normally made with shrimp, they’re happy to make a vegetarian version on request.
Before the meal, there’s an amuse-bouche consisting of an apple salad. Fresh coriander leaves, chopped red onion and some spices complement the tart flavor of the green apple slices very nicely.
The two appetizers are the aforementioned Tom Yum Soup and Potato and Pumpkin Dumplings. The soup is sour, as expected, and tantalizes the palate. There’s a medley of vegetables including broccoli and cauliflower that have been cooked just enough so they still retain some crunch. It adds a nice texture to the soup and prevents it from seeming too watery. The dumplings have a vibrant, almost neon green color, which doesn’t look wholly appetizing. One bite changes my mind, however. The sweet and savory taste of the filling is a delightful combination, and I’d happily polish off the whole plate if I didn’t have main courses ahead of me.
Presently, my server comes along with Thai Green Curry (how could I not order one?), Pad Thai Je and Stir-Fried Thai Kale with Tofu. The curry is served in a pot suspended above a small candle to keep it warm, so at least I don’t have to worry about it going cold while I’m snapping pictures! It’s quite spicy, just as I’d requested, but the richness of the coconut milk helps to cut through that, resulting in a well-balanced dish. The Pad Thai has a mild nutty flavor that’s easily overshadowed by the stronger flavors of the other dishes, but it adds a nice textural element to the plate. The stir-fried kale is, surprisingly, my favorite of the three. It has a bold salty taste that’s alleviated by the tofu and sliced mushrooms.
For dessert, I have the Coconut Custard, which is baked and served in a half-coconut shell. The custard is indulgent but not very sweet. It allows the coconut to be the star of the dish, and once the custard is finished, there’s a thin layer of baked coconut flesh on the inside of the shell that can be scraped off and eaten too!
Sukhothai offers a relaxing and tranquil dining space with a solid selection of veggie-friendly food. The service is on point as well, and keeps the meal flowing without any bumps. Access is a slight issue as getting to the Meridien Village involves a winding walk behind the hotel, but it’s worth it for a tasty Thai meal.
Veggie Friendly: ✔ Vegan Friendly: ✔
Pros: Cozy atmosphere, tasty food, very friendly service
Cons: Accessing the restaurant from the hotel is a bit confusing
Price: $$ (50 - 200 AED)
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