Lao is the fine dining restaurant located in the beautiful Waldorf Astoria in Palm Jumeirah serving traditional Vietnamese cuisine infused with modern presentations developing unique flavors and sensory experiences.
As far as I know, Lao refers to the traditional Buddhist people inhabiting the area of the Mekong River in Laos and Thailand so I think they chose a good name for the restaurant.
I have never been to any Vietnamese restaurant in Dubai before and there’s not a lot of them in the Philippines either so I was really looking forward to trying what this cuisine has to offer.
We came here on a weeknight, on a Monday to be exact and I was surprised to see that the restaurant was almost full. Usually, Mondays are not the busiest day for any restaurant in general but I was happy to see it buzzing on this particular night.
When we entered, I was amazed by the nice elegant interior and furniture and the perfect dim lighting that set the mood for the night.
As a standard procedure, as soon as we were guided to our table, they immediately offered a bottle of water before giving us the menu and they gave us a few minutes to go through it.
Since I had no idea what to order, I asked them for help and the restaurant manager gladly assisted us and gave us his recommendations. We started with a few appetizers such as the Saigon Crepe which has bean sprouts, turmeric and garden herbs and the Vietnamese version of nachos but with shrimps inside.
These were really unique not just in presentation but in the taste as well. I love that even though it is new to me, I appreciated how good everything tasted. I like the distinct flavors and the appearance as well.
They also have fancy mocktails and they even have their own house iced tea that was so refreshing.
Before the mains were served, we tried the beef noodle soup called the Pho Bo and even though they said it was a bit spicy, I thought it was just fine and I enjoyed it.
For the mains, we tried the Duck Breast and the Wok Fried Beef Tenderloin. These were partnered with stir fried noodles, fried rice and stir fried Kangkong with tofu.
I cannot stress enough how good the duck breast was. It was so good, I almost finished the whole plate by myself and we were told that they even had one guest who stayed at the hotel for a week and ordered the same thing for 7 days straight. And I think that says a lot about the taste and the quality of this specific dish.
Equally great tasting was the beef and I’m torn between the two dishes but it’s a good thing I ordered both and didn’t have to choose just one.
Even the kangkong and fried rice were delectable on its own and it was only the noodles that I didn’t like that much. They told me though that if there was more flavor on the noodles, it might overpower the main dishes and it won’t be a side dish anymore. And I reckon they are correct.
So far, so good and even though I wanted to criticize something with the food or the service, I just can’t find any fault in any of it. The place is super nice, the staff was all knowledgeable and courteous and the food was superb.
We ended the meal with two of their most famous desserts, the mango sticky rice and the grilled banana with ice cream. The first one was nice but the banana didn’t really impress me. They could probably make it sweeter by adding some caramel sauce or add more sugar but I can’t complain really, it was still good.
Overall, I must say that I had a truly unforgettable dining experience at Lao. I didn’t expect a lot from them to be honest but they just wowed me and I won’t forget that experience for some time. We also met Chef Mai who was very nice and accommodating and explained to us some of the history of the food and how she came up with the recipe for some of the dishes.
I believe that I have a new found appreciation for Vietnamese cuisine and now I’m on the hunt for other places that offer the same versions of this cuisine. But of course, I will absolutely, highly recommend Lao to anyone and I’m sure they will have the same experience, if not better. Lao exceeded my expectations and if you are ever in the area, make sure that you pay them a visit to enjoy the rich culinary traditions that are unique to the people of Lao.
For more info, call 971-4-818 2222 or email Dubai.firstname.lastname@example.org