The Chinese Village has had a bunch of very positive reviews on Zomato, so we decided to try it out. The reviews most often mention that this is a typical ‘Indian Chinese’ restaurant – meaning it does chinese food for the ‘desi’ or ‘Indian’ palate. And, so it does.
If you are after typical and proper Chinese cuisine (as in Cantonese or Mandarin), this is not your bowl of noodles. If you like Szechwan (southwestern China, bold, spicy pungent flavors), or Hunan (western China, strong spicy and colorful). the Chinese Village is more apt for a nice meal for you. If you prefer American style chinese food, skip this and go straight to PF Chang’s. Having said that, the place was full when we went on a Wednesday evening, and I have to say, the crowd was a fair mix of various nationalities – except any actual chinese.
Parking is very difficult in the area (Marina walk area) which is something you should take into account. The ambiance of the restaurant is very nice, (it’s not 5-star, but it’s not shabby either) and we were lucky to have a window-front table. The food came out very quickly, and the service was really good – friendly, attentive and quick.
We started with delicious prawn crackers which is on the house. They were done well, and the accompanying sauce made them stunning. Then we had the steamed dumplings to start with (call them mo-mos as they do in India, because they were far closer to the Indian version of dim sum than chinese), – which were a bit doughy but they were delicious. We had the non vegetarian option, and those just disappeared in seconds. We also had the chicken with crispy spinach – the chicken was pretty good, but I did not like the overly sweet bed of crispy spinach. It was just too sweet. But unusual.
We also had the stir fried chinese greens from the vegetable mains menu, and this was the only disappointment. The vegetables were ordinary, and whatever they used to stir fry them did not have enough oomph. Boring, to put it best. We liked the roast lamb in black pepper sauce – a spicy, dark dish of sliced lamb in an interesting, garlicky sauce, and it was amazing with the plain rice we ordered. The lamb dish was the best dish in our diner. The plain rice is over priced and way too much as a portion. Perhaps they should do smaller bowls of rice and charge less.
Water, small bottle, was 5AED, which is very reasonable, because most restaurants in Dubai rip you off by either giving you no options except for imported fancy water or over charge you on local labels.
Overall, yes, we would go there again. Yes, it was quite a diversion from the normal chinese places that have a go at chinese without understanding the finer nuances of delicacy. There were no pretenses here – the food was undeniably different, undeniably suited to the Indian palate, and absolutely good for that.
Everything and everyone these days is getting a touch of India and Modi – including New York and President Obama. I guess this is chinese food in Dubai, Modified!