What’s better than gourmet Chinese cuisine in an intimate setting with a group of your best mates? Well, if you’re anything like Team Ahlan!, the answer is karaoke. And that’s exactly what we got when we swung by Five The Palm’s Maiden Shanghai to try out some of their new dishes and karaoke room.
We’ve been to the upmarket restaurant before, and we’re pretty familiar with its elegant setting and creative renditions of Chinese classics. So when we’re invited to sample the newly launched karaoke booth, we’re not sure what to expect.
On arrival, we’re escorted through the regular restaurant and into one of the coolest karaoke rooms we’ve ever seen (we’re karaoke connoisseurs, so take our word for it). The private room consists of a variety of tables, a gigantic TV screen and, of course, a karaoke machine. The selection of music is vast, and there’s even a mic stand for our Whitney ballad moments.
The room hosts up to 15 guests, so it’s perfect for special occasions like birthday parties. Best of all? There is no extra charge! You simply need to book it in advance in order to enjoy a dinner and song combo. It’s also sound-proof, which means you don’t have to worry about scaring away your fellow diners while butchering Mariah Carey.
As we get settled, the food starts arriving. Influenced by four distinct regional cuisines – Cantonese, Sichuan, Shanghai and Beijing – Maiden Shanghai’s food reimagines Chinese home cooking. The venue has launched a brand-new menu showcasing a tempting fusion of traditional dishes. Featuring a range of reimagined organic poultry dishes, including Chef Bing’s famed Peking duck, the new MSG-free menu also features a limited edition three-course Dhs99 lunch special if you’re visiting during the day. Other classics include Kung Pao chicken, short ribs and Kung Pao lobster.
The variety is impressive, so to make the most of it, we opt to share. We start with the cold steamed spinach with sesame sauce (super healthy and yummy), vegetable spring rolls (authentic as it gets), Wagyu beef puffs (still one of our favourites on the menu) and Shan Cheng chili chicken (perfectly spicy).
The mains don’t disappoint either. From the sweet and sour crispy chicken and the stir fried loin of lamb with ginger and spring onion to the Beef tenderloin with rice crust in tomato sauce and the deep fried braised tofu with homemade chili bean paste and garlic sprouts, there’s something for all palettes. However, it’s the five spices and Tsingtao braised beef short ribs that remains our favourite.
After dinner, we’re officially ready to sing the night away, which we do. In fact, we have so much fun belting out the hits, we’re officially the last to leave the restaurant. From Deputy Ed Farah’s rendition of Cher’s Believe to Editor Andre belting out Spice Girls, we’re on top form. And now that we’ve performed with a mic stand while nibbling on amazing food, karaoke will never be the same again for us. We’ve officially peaked!
INFO: Open 7 days a week (karaoke room is available from noon-midnight), Five Palm Jumeirah, 04 455 9989, maidenshanghai.com