Oct 11, 2012

Asia – Shangri La Barr Al Jissah

I was recently invited again to the Shangri La to try out Asia (Telephone: 2477 6565 – Map), their new pan-Asian restaurant located right outside the heritage village next to the new Lebanese restaurant Fairouz.

Asia is a very spacious restaurant with a bright trendy modern look. It is currently only open for dinner, except on Fridays where it also opens for lunch. I came on a weekday evening and the restaurant was not busy at all. The guests seemed to older people staying at the hotel.

The cuisine of Asia is pan-Asian with dishes from Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia. The nice thing about the menu is that it is relatively small even though it features dishes from all these cuisines. The menu is not divided by cuisine, but instead each dish has a little flag icon next to it indicating the origin of the dish.

We decided to start with soups, so I had a Thai Tom Yom soup (RO 4.500) which had prawns and mushrooms and was denser than what I usually have at Shang Thai yet had a great texture, was delicious and not too spicy.

We followed our soup with a plate of sushi. Asia has a long sushi section on its menu, but instead of  going for a maki roll we decided to take a mixed platter (RO 8.500) which had California rolls, nigiri, and sashimi. All the fish tasted fresh and the sushi rolls were well made, but for some reason the rolls were extremely cold from the inside, probably because some of the ingredients were kept in the fridge for too long and didn’t have the time to warm up before we got them, we still enjoyed it though.

For the main course we decided to go for a Malaysian Prawn Curry Laksa (RO 6.500) and Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken. The Laksa had prawns and egg noodles cooked in a curry coconut soup and it was surprisingly really excellent and rich in flavor. The Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken isn’t really on the menu, but the waiter told us that we can replace the fish in the Sweet and Sour Fish dish with chicken, so we did that and it turned out to be nice, but I think I would have liked it even more if the chicken pieces were fully submerged in the sauce.

For dessert we decided to go for a Banana Coconut Milk (RO 3.000 and a Malaysian Mango Sticky Rice (RO 3.800), the sticky rice was nice but the portion was really huge – I only recommend this if you are going to share it with a group of people. The banana coconut milk was also nice, much lighter, and probably a smarter option to have for an end to your meal.

Asia also has a drinks menu and is licensed. I tried a Mango Tango from the mocktails section which was a fruit smoothy that hand mangos, kiwis, and strawberries and I really loved it. My friend had a Banana Punch which he also liked a lot.

I thought that the service at Asia was great, the waiters were very friendly, talkative, gave us suggestions on what to have, and brought our food exactly as we ordered it.

I had a great time at Asia, the food is amazing, the ambiance is great, and the service is excellent. It is such a shame that they do not open for lunch except on Fridays!

If you want to try one of the new restaurants at the Shangri La, Asia is surely the one to go for.