Dubaiâ€™s deliciously screwball Thai restaurant with decent, affordable food, wonderfully off-kilter dÃ©cor and a loyal fan base.
This deliciously screwball Thai restaurant is hidden away just behind Al Wasl Road â€“ although its obscure location doesnâ€™t stop those in the know seeking out its neon, moustachioed Mona Lisa sign. Instead, its decent, affordable food and wonderfully off-kilter dÃ©cor have earned it a loyal fanbase, happy to follow each othersâ€™ Chinese whisper-style â€“ and, quite often taxi driver-incensing â€“ road directions.
Stepping inside is like being transported into some ramshackle New York art cafÃ©, with its Van Gogh replicas, dangling multicoloured lights, random photograph collages and quaintly sloping book shelves. Placing down our table mats (torn magazine pages) our waiter handed us the menu. Here the Mona Lisa head makes another appearance, this time to signal dishes that are â€˜super awesomeâ€™ â€“ fortunately, she was featured several times.
Continuing on the theme, all dishes have amusing names. For example, you could order the â€˜10-baht love you long timeâ€™ (deep fried wonton-style chicken and prawn with sweet chilli dip), which, despite being pleasantly crisp still seems to be one of the menuâ€™s greasier options. Our tip is to skip the starters and go straight for the mains.
The reasonably-priced and amusingly-titled â€˜Karate Kidâ€™ serves up a hearty mix of chicken, veggies and noodles in a spicy sauce, while new addition to the menu, â€˜Masters Of The Universeâ€™, proves to be a tasty mix of plump prawns and chopped beans in a chilli and basil sauce.
Opening hours (or â€˜smiling timeâ€™, the menu cackles) are actually 11.11am until 12.12am. Smiling BKK offers the best Thai food in town and it certainly comes served in one of Dubaiâ€™s most inventive and fabulously fun settings.