Review: Nonya, JLT’s new pan-Asian restaurant

Review: Nonya, JLT’s new pan-Asian restaurant

A stylish new spot takes pan-Asian fare to new heights in JLT…

You need to be smart when designing a restaurant the size of Nonya. Occupying the entire 44th floor of the Taj JLT, it’s cleverly split into a series of smaller spaces, which mean that no matter where you’re sitting you feel like you’re somewhere intimate and inviting. Private dining rooms are discreetly tucked behind glittering gold curtains, a horseshoe-shaped bar leads to a colourful lounge, and glass doors give way to little, leafy terraces where guests can dine against the backdrop of the looming city skyline.

Initially, Nonya was positioned Singaporean, but has since migrated to describing itself as pan-Asian, which feels more reflective of the menu. Maki rolls sit alongside Dim Sum, a dedicated robata section and a whole page of meat and seafood dishes.

We start with satay ayam (Dhs75) – crispy chicken cooked in punchy Malaysian spices falls tenderly off the skewers, and we delight in dunking each one in a creamy satay sauce. The California maki rolls (Dhs75) are a bit more style over substance: a bit on the dry side, and topped with too much tobaiko for our personal taste.

The next round of dishes arrives – all fresh from the robata grill. Hokkaido scallops (Dhs120) are lacking in flavour when eaten on their own, but fare far better when dipped in the evidently well-perfected satay sauce. The lamb chops (Dhs145) are much tastier, while the broccolini (Dhs55) has the perfect crunch, and a welcome nod of spice from the fresh chilis on top. Our favourite dish of the night is the half-roasted Peking duck (Dhs225). It’s executed with the expertise of a very experienced chef, and served with matchsticks of cucumber, a thick hoisin sauce and a stack of soft, steaming pancakes.

Although there’s room for improvement, it’s not a bad start for Nonya. Staff are friendly, portion sizes far outweigh much of the competition, and it’s hard to beat the terrace views in that part of town.

44th Floor, Taj Jumeirah Lakes Towers, 6pm to 1am Sun to Thurs, 6pm to 2am Fri, 1pm to 2am Sat. Tel: (0)4 574 1144, @nonyadubai

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