Feel Like Exploring the Vast Asian Culinary Scene in Dubai? Try Tàn Chá.
Experience the vibrancy and opulence of modern Chinese cuisine at Tàn Chá Dubai. The dishes are inspired by Chinese-style food with a contemporary Western twist and served in a sleek interior that combines modern elegance with traditional Asian décor. Their bar serves an invigorating beverage programme and innovative cocktails as well as an extensive wine list.
Spread across two floors and featuring a terrace overlooking the Dubai Canal, this restaurant offers an array of culinary options. The space is adaptable to cater for dinners, parties or events using sliding partitions and curtains. Additionally, Tàn Chá offers five different rooms, each with its own unique name. If you’re in need of even more privacy, there is a private dining space designed like the traditional Chinese birdcage.
Though the space is reflected predominantly in red hues, the colour palette and decor provide sophistication with traditionalism and unconventionality, much like the restaurant’s cuisine. Moving across two floors, you are taken from the expected to the unexpected with a vibrant array of blue from the birdcage art installation right by the staircase. Tàn Chá indeed has curated, in addition to artful cuisine, many wonderful design elements. Though the restaurant remains cohesive in its aesthetic and atmosphere, each room is simultaneously unique; from the decor of old Chinese murals to a barroom which appears to be underwater.
The waiters are incredibly tasked with helping to navigate the menu in a friendly and informative fashion. They were also very adept at providing recommendations and contributed drastically to the success of the evening. We were assured that portion sizes were not too big enabling us to enjoy a wide selection of food. They even had a fantastic tea sommelier with a good in-depth knowledge of their vast selection of tea.
It’s important to note that it’s a non-GMO restaurant so you won’t feel heavy or bloated the next day. The cuisine is traditional Shanghainese-meets-modern fusion. The dishes are inspired by Chinese-style food with a contemporary Western twist.
Though Chinese food is often associated with chicken, beef, duck, and a wide variety of meats, it must be acknowledged that Tàn Chá offered an exceptional array of vegan dishes. From the crispy kale crackers and spicy cucumber salad starters to the tofu main dishes and Sichuanese aubergine, we were exceedingly impressed with the vegan selection which did not feel like an afterthought to the meat dishes.
For main courses, honourable mentions must go to the 48 hours jasmine smoked short rib which came with a joyful mandarin sauce cooked to perfection, in addition to the table favourite: the Peking duck which was incredibly succulent with a nice fat to flavour ratio.
In addition to the food, our table enthusiastically sampled the cocktail menu which offered twists to traditional cocktails like “Finding the Hidden Dragon” – a take on the Bloody Mary – to carefully constructed original cocktails like “Warming Winter Nights”. Alongside the artistic names, the menu itself was beautiful, with intricate illustrations of animals and nature adorning its pages and each cocktail presented with its own tale.
As we know, great food can be appreciated by many, yet Tàn Chá certainly attracts a specific type of audience. Those who appreciate the finer details within the culinary experience, such as a personalised pair of chopsticks, a separate cocktail menu and great care for the presentation of food. The experience, though worthwhile, may also come with a sizable bill (particularly if one were to sample the extensive wine list) which may hinder those looking for more budget-friendly options. However, if an anniversary or birthday is coming up, make sure to consider Tàn Chá as it truly will be a night to remember.