Miss Tess – Taj Hotel, Business Bay, Dubai

As per the blurb on their website,

“Miss Tess is a street-food restaurant inspired by a story. A story of an Asian woman who grew up on the streets of her continent, learning what they offer best and turning this knowledge into a fully Asian gastronomical experience”.

Sounds exciting, huh? It was Thursday night, the wife and I were hungry for some authentic Asian street food, so what better place to go?

We arrived and were seated, facing the Burj Khalifa on the restaurant’s terrace. The venue is very cool inside so we did kinda feel bad about sitting out, but with summer fast approaching, we thought we’d take advantage of being outdoors – and we were in a street food restaurant after all!

The Interiors

We began with a couple of Asahis, whilst musing over the menu:

The Menu

We began the meal by ordering Prawn Crackers, Duck Bao, the Meu-a Wan Pom Rot Chon (Mango Salad with Soft Shelled Crab) and also gave their signature Tom Yum Goong a whirl.

The Tom Yum Goong arrived first and was served in what looked like the top of a shisha pipe:

Tom Yum Goong

I’ve had a lot of these soups in my time and this was up there with the best. The prawns were poached beautifully and the broth itself had that delicious balance of sweet, sour and spicy flavours that make it one of my favourite Asian soups.

Next arrived the bao:

Duck Bao

Again, a very well-executed nibble. The bao itself was soft and light and the duck had a nice crunch with the coriander enhancing the freshness.

As the night wore on, the venue got busier and busier. By around 9pm, there was barely a free table and with 90s/00s hip-hop, pop & R&B blaring out over the speakers, it made for a fun atmosphere both inside and out.

The venue has an extensive signature cocktail list and throughout the evening the wife and I gave a few a sample – the best by far being a Tum Yum cocktail, made on a roaming trolley. The cocktails definitely tick the “instagrammable” box, as seen below:

After the bao, the soft-shell crab salad arrived. Despite me not being the biggest fan of mango and finding it too thickly sliced for my preference, it was very fresh with the crab cooked perfectly crispy as it should be. The wife, who is a fan of mango, loved it!

Mango Crab Salad

Once we’d sufficiently devoured the starters, it was time for the mains:

The Mains

Despite Asian cuisine not being famed for its exceptional lamb dishes, the chops were marked as a signature dish, so we gave them a try alongside a classic Pad Thai.

The Lamb

Unfortunately, the lamb was pretty terrible. The fat hadn’t been rendered down and it was well overcooked as well as having a very unpleasant, bitter flavour – if we weren’t comped we’d have certainly sent it back.

Pad Thai

The Pad Thai was very enjoyable though, similarly to the Tom Yum Goong, the dish was balanced well with sweet and sour elements with a big kick of heat that left me glugging water!

As the night wore on, entertainment arrived in the form of a massive snake circling the venue, devouring random members of the crowd – you really have to see it to believe it! I don’t want to give it away too much, but it’s quite the spectacle!

The whole place has a buzzing, fun party vibe and I’d say it’s a really good shout for somewhere to visit for food and drinks before you transition to a club and not be worried about overly-pretentious food or a sterile atmosphere. The staff were helpful and friendly the entire evening and other than one bad dish, the majority of the traditional street food was of a high standard.

I’m sure it’s a place we’ll return to!

FOOD: 11/15 – Overall the standard was good, but the poor lamb main brings the score down a tad.
SERVICE: 13/15 – Not over-serviced thankfully and the staff were knowledgable about the menu and friendly.
DRINKS SELECTION: 4.5/5 – An extensive cocktail menu with a few good Asian options for beers and some decent wines.
AMBIENCE: 5/5 – It’s great to go to a place that’s busy which seems a rarity these days! The whole venue was packed with happy people, the lighthearted entertainment brought a different edge and the music was right up my street.
DESIGN: 4.5/5 – The design team have done a great job of producing a high-end-but-fun, vibrant play on a street market.
VALUE: 3/5 – It’s not particularly cheap for “street food”, but you’re in a Burj Khalifa-facing, 5-star hotel so there is a premium.

TOTAL: 41/50 – a fun restaurant to spend an evening! Stick to the traditional, Asian street-food dishes and you won’t go too wrong. A great place to bring a few mates or have an enjoyable evening with your partner!

Miss Tess - Taj Dubai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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