YOU will agree with me when I say we in Dubai are completely spoilt for choice when it come to dining out. Why then would I be driving to the other end of the emirate at the Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort and Towers? Because the fame of its Chinese outlet Peacock has become synonymous with the cuisine. It has come to be known as a place where cuisine and service blend to provide a perfect experience.
Just as the Peacock is a breathtakingly beautiful creature that is elegant in style, grace and beauty, the restaurant at the Sheraton exudes this charm as soon as you enter.
Being of simple appearance, its stylish interior with classic colours and shades are used to perfection to enhance the natural beauty. The setting is graceful and comfortable, a perfect environment for a family get together, a business meal or just a social gathering.
The polished timber leaf like decoration hanging from the wall give that added feeling of warmth and perhaps even allows you to feel lost in the mythical paradise.
The walls have a very striking marble decoration that has a soft light attached behind it, thus making way for a variation of lighting that is both warm and welcoming yet bright and modern.
The whole facade of this mezzanine floor restaurant is open and over looking a garden of tall tress giving you the feeling of being perched high in the treetops. The soothing piano sounds played below echo through the area leaving you lost in this enchanting setting.
Warmly greeted on entering by the staff who were more than happy to help with any needs I knew this was going to be a wonderful night.
It is always a pleasant change to see guests arrive and welcomed by name or even a heartfelt smile. This restaurant I gathered is immensely popular among families, and why would it not be when everyone is made to feel so welcome. The staff were very strikingly dressed in beautiful traditional bright red dresses that completes the setting.
The tables are well spaced out and do not give you feeling of sitting on top of each other. There are a few tables off to the back that allow for a little more private family dinning for those who looking for a bit of seclusion. For me I think the best seats in the house are those that run along the half wall over looking the terrace.
The strikingly placed Chinese artefacts not only complemented the setting but also added extra charm to this already appealing environment. The tables are adorned with exquisite silverware bearing dragon shapes and stunning white China with a gold trim. As for the soup bowls, dragon heads are twisted into handles.
Settling down into comfortable chairs with the assistance of the gracious assistant manager Suraj, we prepared for the evening. A glance at the menu revealed an extensive choice and one that I think could be safely said would satisfy just about any guest. Along with the Al La Carte menu there are also four set menus for groups of two or more people. The set menus offer you a soup dish a selection of starters and a selection of between three and five main courses depending on which menu you choose, Fried Rice and a dessert of your choice. These set menus sound great while dining as a group as it allows for a larger selection of menu options.
Wanting to explore more we decided on the Al La Carte menu with tips from the Chef.
When the Szechwan hot and sour soup provided a perfect way to wake up our taste buds with it strong spice and rich flavour, I knew this was just a taste of the fine flavours to come.
I guess you could say that one cannot attend a Chinese restaurant without sampling that ever-popular steamed dish of Dim Sum. The chef served us a selection of these delicacies along with other popular items like Vegetarian Spring Rolls, Fried Wontons, Breaded Prawn Cutlets and my personal favourite Deep Fried Prawns on toast or Prawn toast, as I like to call it. These dishes were served with a choice of Hot and Spicy and Sweet and Sour sauces. The starters were well filled up and did not lack in taste either.
Moving on to main course, you will like me, be astounded with the large amount of choices. The menu is divided into sections with each part giving you a variety of dishes created from the main heading. There is Lobster, Prawns and Seafood; Duck, Beef, Chicken; Vegetables, Noodles and Rice and the Sizzling Plate which I decided had to be on my Must Try list after watching them coming out of the kitchen headed to various tables. The sizzling sound was watched intently by the guests as they reached the tables drawing smiles.
But before that, we decided to indulge in some Barbecued Peking Duck, which we had seen being prepared and enjoyed at a table not too far away. The skill of the staff as they stood at your table an pulled the meat away from the bone was just astounding. It was made to look so easy using just a fork, but I am sure in reality it would not work like that for me. Served with pancakes and a selection of vegetables and sauce this was not only a very appetising meal, but also an adventure to put together.
When it came to ordering the sizzler, we selected the wonderful Chicken with Hot and Spicy sauce. Sizzling away and billowing with sweet smelling aromas this dish was a temptation to all the senses. With a strong taste of garlic and a blend of other spices this is truly a dish for those that love spicy food with lots of flavour.
There is something about a dish of Chinese Vegetables that I just canít go past them; their crispiness and succulent flavour. What we ordered was no exception. Braised and blended with Oyster Sauce they were a perfect dinner accompaniment.
If after all this food you have managed to save just enough space for dessert than there are some very tempting treats for you to try.
Having tasted Green Tea ice-cream many years ago at the home of a Chinese friend I was very excited to see it on the menu and knew this was what I had to have. Green Tea ice cream has a very mild flavour with just that hint of tea taste. It is a very soothing way to finish off a meal. Teamed with fresh tropical melon it was not only tasty but very eye catching.
The Peacock is open each day for Lunch from 12noon till 3pm and again for Dinner from 7pm till 12 midnight making sure that there is always time for you to enjoy.
If you donít mind a little drive to enjoy a great meal that you really are going to enjoy this true family environment. We definitely did and Peacock lived up to all the hype it has generated. This is truly not just a place to sit down and eat, but a place to sit back relax and enjoy not only the people around you but the whole environment. by Kerry Leigh