Inspired by izakaya dining, the restaurant fuses Cantonese, Korean, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese influences with views over Palm Jumeriah.
It has been a minute since we last entered the alluring confines of Ling Ling Dubai. Located in the crown of the newly-opened Atlantis The Royal, our last visit coincided with the venue’s opening party. A star-studded event attended by celebrities such as Amir Khan, Ashley Park, Ellen Pompeo and Trey Songz that featured a surprise performance from rapper Fat Joe.
This time, we’re here for the food rather than a night of revelry. The multifaceted venue, with its stunning skyline views, includes a bar, lounge, dining room and skyline terrace spread across a slightly disjointed upstairs/downstairs configuration across the hotel’s 22nd and 23rd floors. With music pumping and LED columns illuminated with dancing floral motifs, Ling Ling Dubai weaves a hypnotic and appealing atmosphere around diners.
A concept by Tao Group Hospitality, what initially started as the bar area of the flagship Hakkasan restaurant in London, now reaches across the globe to exotic locals like Oslo, Mexico City and Marrakech (where we were first introduced to Ling Ling).
Ling Ling Dubai is perhaps the most ambitious outpost for the brand, but we’re in capable hands. The kitchen is under the guidance of Chef De Cusine Steven Nguyen (formally of the FACT Award winning Indochine), who brings his culinary magic to a menu that weaves together Japanese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine without leaving behind the Cantonese origins of Hakkasan that are present in every course.
Dishes include Kung Pao Chicken, Lamb Shank Rendang, Tea Smoked Duck Kuih Pie Tee and Singapore Chili Crab Spring Rolls. Yet, those anchored around premium ingredients come at a price, from the 24K Gold, comprising A5 Saroma Wagyu, Lobster, Bottarga, Caviar and Gold Leaf (AED 550) to the Australian Black Pepper Lobster (AED 1,150) and 240g cut of Kobe Beef (AED 2,750). A Chef’s Omakase is offered for AED 1,200.
We begin with the signature Crispy Bee Pollen Chicken (AED 80), a fantastic take on fried chicken slathered in a seductive black pepper-honey glaze. The result is a moreish combination of crunch, sweetness and heat. The trio of puck-shaped Crispy BBQ Duck Bao (AED 120) are another fantastic choice. Light and fluffy, these discs break apart with ease to reveal a char siu mix of duck and shiitake that is terrifically tender and coated in a glossy sauce.
The plump Scallop Crudo (AED 130) was the only dish that didn’t resonate with us. Served with chilli oil and coconut foam, the accompaniments completely overwhelmed the mollusc, giving the meaty morsel little chance to impart any flavour.
Elsewhere, the Tuna and Toro Makizusushi (AED 140) effortlessly blend bluefin tuna with takuan radish, gochujang chilli paste and sesame to inject a Korean twist into the Japanese sushi. Marvellous mains include the Crispy Orange Chili Beef (AED 240), presenting an elevated take on the Cantonese classic in which the ribeye is mixed with asparagus and ginger and coated with a sweet and sticky glaze. It’s an irresistible blend of crisp texture, lacquered sauce and a sweet, zesty flavour. Accompanied by Ling Ling Dubai’s popular Bone Marrow Fried Rice (AED 175), the buttery and creamy flavour of the freshly scraped marrow takes precedence.
Ling Ling Dubai’s bar menu is on point. Expect curated concoctions with playful names, such as the Fragrant Harbour (105), a fragrant mix of yuzu-infused Roku gin, raspberry, verjus, lavender, lime, and the Ubud Tiki (AED 95) combining Havana rum with passion house blend, lime and ginger.
Ultimately, Ling Ling Dubai is an Insta-worthy venue that combines design work from Parisian duo Gilles & Boissier with tropical vegetation and neon corridors that will surely appeal to Dubai’s well-heeled diners. With fierce competition at Dubai’s most talked about mega-resort, Ling Ling has successfully found its groove, offering a seamless transition from drinking to dining and (hopefully) dancing.
GO: Visit www.atlantis.com for reservations and more information.