We had a hearty dinner at Bambooda for Mark's birthday last week. Haven't had Thai food in a while so I was very much excited for this night, too.
Bambooda is nestled in Roda Al Bustan Hotel and promises an authentic Thai gastronomic adventure. Stepping into the restaurant made us feel like we're no longer in Dubai. Bambooda has this distinct interior that's nature-themed, with waterfalls and a mini river complete with live koi fish and greens. It felt like we were transported to a Thai island.
The ambience is relaxing and the dim lighting makes for a perfect romantic and intimate dinner venue (not that good for taking videos or photos from my camera phone though). They open only for dinner, but I'd really want to see and relish its beauty during the day. I reckon it will be a lovelier sight with natural light passing through their glass ceiling.
They offer an authentic Thai experience with their menu that's meticulously crafted by the talented Chef Amara, who is a Thai national. It was a bit hard to choose what to have because the dishes seem so be tempting, good thing our server, April, was there to help out. Most of the dishes that we had were her recommendations. The dishes here are prepared fresh, so I had the liberty to request the spiciness level adjusted to medium spicy. :)
Our dinner started with complimentary prawn crackers served with a chili oil dip, which can be refilled in case you find yourself munching on them in a jiffy. :p We had Prawn Satay and Homemade Dimsum for appetizer, and Tom Yum Goong for our soup. We also had Thai Basil and Lime Mojito mocktail for our drinks.
The Prawn Satay came in five skewers of grilled marinated prawns with peanut sauce and cucumber chili dip. I love prawns so this dish was a treat for me. The prawn was already good as is; the charred flavor combined with the subtle sweetness of the well-seasoned prawn was a delight for my palates. Both sauces went well with the prawn, but I loved sweetness and slight tang from the cucumber chili dip.
Served in a traditional bamboo steamer, chicken, prawn, and crab meat parcels topped with tobiko, and a sweet soya and fried garlic sauce, make up their Homemade Dimsum. The dimsum didn't taste as okay as they looked. The tobiko added an interesting texture, but I didn't really get the distinction in flavors from the dimsum. It didn't quite taste like chicken, prawn, or crab. The sweet soya was the more distinct flavor that I got (if you've had Taho before, that's how the dimsum tasted like).
Mark had been to Thailand and spent most of his 2-week stay enjoying authentic Thai food, the Tom Yam soup being one of his favorites. So when April suggested the Tom Yum Goong, a hot and sour prawn soup, I knew I had to oblige. Mark approved of it on his first spoonful, noting it tasted just like what he used to have in Thailand.
The acidity of the soup was just right and the spiciness was tolerable for my palates. I can clearly taste the flavors of lime and lemongrass, too. Plus, it had a generous serving of mushrooms and king prawns (I think there were 5-6 prawns!). And my verdict? I loved it! It was so good!
For the mains, we had Beef Tamarind Spare Ribs, Chicken Green Curry, and Shrimps Pad Thai.
I know how Mark loves steaks and ribs, so I got the Neua Yang Nam Jim Jaew - Beef Tamarind Spare Ribs. Picture this: 2 huge beef spare ribs from the US, marinated with tamarind and Thai herbs, grilled to perfection its meat becomes fall-off-the-bone tender, served with sticky rice rolls and spicy sauce. Oh I felt my eyes light up when it was served!
Mark and I loved this! Loved how Bambooda incorporated a Thai touch to this American favorite. The sticky rice rolls were ingenious, too! Take a chunk of the beef and then eat it with the roll, ahhh, I'm drooling now as I type this! I guess you have to try it for yourself to know what I mean. ;)
I had a love-hate relationship with the Kaen Kiew Wan Gai - Chicken Green Curry. It has a generous serving of tender chicken breast slices, the flavor of the coconut milk, Thai basil leaves, and green chili was evident, and it was medium spicy (just the way I like it) and went perfectly well with the white rice (that's beautifully presented in a bamboo canister), BUT the eggplants and peas were a little too undercooked, they were tough to chew and had a bitter aftertaste. :(
The Shrimps Pad Thai wasn't as good as the ones that I've tried before. Not sure if the ones I had weren't as authentic, but Bambooda's version seemed to have not much going on in it. I mean, the bowl consisted mostly of flat rice noodles (which was a bit dry), I didn't quite taste the tofu (it was like minced) and it only had 2 (unpeeled) shrimps.
The distinct tamarind flavor was evident, though, I liked the balance of sweetness and sourness in it, the bean sprouts added texture, and it also came with side servings of crushed peanuts and Thai chili powder.
One dessert always comes to mind when I think of Thai cuisine—Mango Sticky Rice! It was beautifully plated along with fresh berries. The slight sweetness of the sticky rice and creamy coconut sauce was just enough to complement the sweet Thai mango. Mark and I both enjoyed this one.
As a birthday treat, April, along with a couple of Bambooda staff also brought in (what tasted like) strawberry cheesecake for Mark while singing a birthday song. You can watch the video here.
Thank you, Bambooda, for the sweet gesture! Special thanks to April for orchestrating it. :) Mark loved the birthday surprise! The cheesecake was delicious, by the way!
With a relaxing and unique ambience, service that's warm and impeccable, and delicious and authentic Thai food (Thank you, Chef Amara!), even though though there were a few misses on some of the dishes that we had, I can still say that our dining experience at Bambooda is one for the books. Mark and I both went home with happy hearts and tummies! Can't wait to be back!
Roda Al Bustan, Casablanca Road
Al Garhoud, Dubai, U.A.E.
+971 (0)4 526 0052
We were invited to try Bambooda and our meal was complimentary, but this post is not influenced nor paid for. Opinions on this blog post are my own.