When staying at a resort, it’s sometimes nice not to leave at all (especially if only staying for one night). As we enjoyed the libations of the Gold Lounge at the Palace (smallish, but good drinks, new friends, and Wimbledon — can’t lose), it was more or less time for dinner, so we jumped in a transport van to head back across the One & Only property to the Arabian Court. Inside, we were directed to Nina and after descending a rather lengthy staircase, came to the brightly colored dining room. Done in lots of jewel tones, at 8ish, there were only a few tables seated (with a few more coming in by the time we left around 10).
From the website:
“Descend a staircase to enter a vibrant, lively setting wrapped in an air of intrigue. Flickering candles, curtain beads and contemporary music set the scene for an evening at Nina, the mistress of spice. Exceptionally prepared cuisine enlivens the palate, with powerful flavours and seductive aromas that create a journey of culinary discovery.”
Mistress of spice?
Sure, let’s go with that.
Having looked ahead, I thought the idea of a sort of set menu (called the ‘sharing experience’ was a good fit for us (and really, we had waaaaayyyy too much food). I don’t know about you, but at home when we order curry for delivery, it’s always a two meal gig. Anyway, the sharing of food started with Nina’s Sharbat Selection of Breads, Pickles & Chutneys. While Hubs devoured papadoms like it was going out of style, I found the chutneys to be far too salty to enjoy. I also wanted to leave room for the rest of the menu.
The next plates were brought out in rapid succession until we asked the kitchen to slow down (needing a breaking between the scallops and the curries). From the menu, we received Cheese Chili Chicken Tikka, Seared Scallops, Spinach & Ricotta Dumplings, Butter Chicken, Lamb Curry & Kingfish Tandoori Black Daal, Basmati Rice & Garlic and Naan. As with the chutney, I found everything approaching the line with salt. While all flavourful — I mean, really, when am I not going to like seared scallops? my note to the kitchen would be to dial back the price and balance out the pacing of the dishes. Besides the scallops, the high note for me was (of all things) the naan. It was crispy, hot, buttery and perfectly seasoned.
We were sincerely stuffed by the time dessert was served, which was a good thing, because the sweet selection didn’t have much going. In fact, the Vanilla Panna Cotta was not a good way to end the meal. The panna cotta was bland, and I’m not sure if it was the heat in the kitchen, but the fruit on top was quite watery in its consistency, which did not allow it to mix easily with the panna cotta portion. Furthermore, there was apparently edible foil of some kind in the dessert. Only, we didn’t know this, and so came across little bits of what looked like used tin foil which was totally unappetizing. We picked around for a bit, but ended up not finishing this plate.
At AED230 per person for the sharing menu, this meal felt a bit expensive (adding a bottle of wine and a costly bottle of water the total came out at nearly AED800).
Would I go back? Not anytime soon — there are simply too many other good Indian options available in the city. Great Indian cuisine is always on offer in Dubai, and for the price we paid, you wouldn’t have to look hard for a better experience (Tresind, Farzi Cafe).
If you are at the One & Only Royal Mirage and don’t want to leave, I could suggest The Jetty Lounge, or perhaps taking the ferry across to the sister property on the Palm (as we should’ve planned to do).
Should you decide to go, Nina’s is only open for dinner 7 PM – 11:30 PM (every day except Sunday).