A healthy experience at Lemongrass

Heba El-Sherif
5 Min Read

Whether or not you intend to review it, dining at a five-star hotel is unquestionably one of the joys of living in the city. For that reason, my lunch partner and I were equally exhilarated on our way to the JW Marriott’s Lemongrass last Saturday.

Inspired by the fields of the Far East, and keeping in line with its name, Lemongrass’ interiors are all about bamboo and earthy color combinations.

The venue is small, accommodating about a couple dozen people who have the choice of simple bamboo chairs or more comfortable, bigger ones with thicker padding.

Gleefully, we were led to a simple table for two situated by the window overlooking the outdoor pool. It was a sunny afternoon and the sunlight warmly penetrated the glass onto our table to create shapely reflections.

After introducing himself, our waiter quickly offered us two shot-glasses of iced water with thin curled-up orange grates. It was refreshing, but for its name, I’d expect it to have been a little colder.

Our complimentary starter included shredded tofu with mushrooms, shrimp crackers and a peppery mixture of shredded cabbage and little cubes of apple. Dipped in a range of Asian sauces, it was the perfect warm-up for our taste buds.

As we were both unfamiliar with Thai cuisine, we decided to read through the entire menu, which was descriptive enough for us to choose what to feast on without fostering too many inquiries.

We settled for a lemongrass sampler as a shared starter (LE 105), a decision that was reaffirmed by our waiter. I opted for the Bangkok Prawns (LE 118) while my lunch partner settled for a platter of Hong Kong Beef (LE 78), substituting the traditional glass noodles side order with fried rice.

Our appetizer came in a red and black platter made up of four partitions carrying four types of savories that I could tell were prepared with much care; it was an artful combination of crab, chicken, lobster and tofu.

The soy glazed chicken rested on lemongrass skewers while the tofu mingled with peppers and cabbage among a plethora of pan fried Asian vegetables. The lobster konafa, served with garlic mayonnaise, was definitely my favorite. Although fried, the mini crab dumplings were far from oily, tenderly dissolving in our mouths.

The lemongrass sampler is live lovebird nest, ideal for two.

Towards the middle of our meal, the waiter graced us with two off-of-the-tree coconuts sliced open ready to be sipped. Needless to say, they were the talk of the afternoon. Fresh, ripe and naturally sweet, I drank mine till the last sip, held up a spoon and started digging in.

My tangy sweet and sour prawns were cooked in a blend of bell peppers, onions and slices of pineapples. The accompanying portion of classic white rice complemented the full-flavored dish.

The Hong Kong beef was just as delectable. Slices of beef tenderloin cooked with shiitake mushrooms, onions and bell peppers rested on a mount of rice, drenched in garlic sauce.

Both our main courses were tasty and filling, leaving us with no room for dessert.

Lemongrass is situated in the health wing of the hotel; one of its gates leads to the indoor pool, around which an indoor climbing wall is built. While the gym is located on that same floor, the second floor houses both the hairdresser and the hotel’s spa center, a treat that surely calls for a separate visit. The venue mixes casual interiors with fine food. Although I haven’t made up my mind whether or not I agree with situating Lemongrass within the hotel’s health center, when it comes to the food, my doubts disappear: it is simply exquisite.

LemongrassJW MarriottRing Road, Mirage City Tel: (02) 2411 5588

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