x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

A feast for the eyes: The Kris, Bur Dubai

The Kris restaurant in Bur Dubai offers a huge meny selection, some tasty dishes and amazing views of Downtown.

The Kris restaurant at the new Park Regis Kris Kin hotel in Bur Dubai offers high-class dining at an even higher altitude, with panoramic views from the 19th floor.
The Kris restaurant at the new Park Regis Kris Kin hotel in Bur Dubai offers high-class dining at an even higher altitude, with panoramic views from the 19th floor.

The Park Regis Kris Kin hotel in Bur Dubai opened its doors in November of last year. In September, the Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM) announced that the hotel was to be awarded a five-star rating. While the city is awash with high-end hotels and there are new openings aplenty around the Marina, in "old" Dubai this isn't such a regular occurrence.

Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that this hotel stands out. It is far taller, not to mention brighter, than the buildings in the vicinity, which have greyed with time. The view from the 19th floor, where the main restaurant, Kris, is located, is really quite something: floor-to-ceiling windows provide a 360-degree view of the bright lights, snaking highways and imposing skyline of Downtown Dubai.

The lengthy menu is divided into sections, apparently inspired by the ancient spice trail, with Thai, Asian, Arabian, Malaysian, Chinese and Japanese options. I remain unconvinced of the logic behind this. Yes, it offers guests plenty of choice, but at what cost? The food here was pretty good, but you can't help feeling that if they refined the menu a little, played to the strengths and expertise of the chef, it could be better.

We started the meal with Thai-style crab cakes and Chinese hot and sour soup. Rather than the familiar (dare I say, more authentic) small, round patties that I had expected, the crab cakes were served in large, thin triangular slices, with a breadcrumb coating. In terms of taste, they didn't disappoint, being pleasantly chewy, rich, meaty and moist in the centre, with hints of coriander and lemon grass. The little bowl of tangy papaya salad served on the side was excellent; fresh, crunchy shredded fruit, with plenty of chilli kick and a sharp, salty edge.

The other starter was also well received: a richly flavoured, vaguely viscous chicken broth spiked with just the right amount of white pepper, it was lively and interesting without being blisteringly hot.

My sea bass main course featured a generous portion of nicely cooked fish, with pleasingly crispy skin. The dish was unfortunately let down by a sticky, synthetic tasting sauce, which was barely warm when it reached me. A side order of tender bok choy with thick, sweet soy sauce and slivers of garlic was lovely, though.

My friend enjoyed his classic tandoori chicken: tender, mildly spiced meat infused with the faint smokey aroma of the tandoor. I dare say there are better curries to be had in the city, but it was a pleasant dish nonetheless. Naan bread was blackened around the edges, soft and chewy in the centre and rather nice, as was a portion of biryani rice, although it could've done with a more generous sprinkling of cashew nuts and onions.

I wasn't impressed with the coconut sorbet that I had for dessert. Rather than the fresh, nutty flavour that the menu promised, the artificial taste reminded me of old-fashioned sun-tan oil. Passion fruit meringue was much better, with the tart fruit sherbet countering the sweetness of the crisp, sugary meringue.

The service that we received was excellent: friendly, well-informed and attentive, without being overly formal. The food may not be outstanding, but the portions are large, the prices reasonable and the views striking. If you find yourself hungry in Bur Dubai one evening, this restaurant is worth a visit.

A meal for two at Kris restaurant, Park Regis Kris Kin hotel in Bur Dubai costs Dh358, including service. For reservations, call 04 377 1111. Reviewed meals are paid for by The National and reviews are conducted incognito.