I was recently invited to dine at the Gloria Hotel’s Asian buffet. The Gloria Hotel you ask? Perhaps you’re thinking the same as me. This is a hotel you know of and have passed by numerous times that you never really thought about dining at.
The Gloria Hotel is a 4* hotel conveniently located at the Dubai Internet City metro station. But before you get confused, there are two Gloria Hotels. Ok, perhaps you were never confused in the first place, because they’re on opposite sides of the street. But I always thought they were one in the same. However, one is the Gloria and one is the Yassat Gloria.
So now that we have that cleared up, both the Gloria and the Yassat Gloria have a series of Theme Night buffets at their all-day dining restaurants, La Terrasse and The Avenue, running until the end of January. There’s a different theme each night – from Arabic to steak night to Asian to seafood – ranging between AED 150-180 per person including water, soft drink, non-alcoholic wine.
I dined at La Terrasse at the Gloria Hotel, which is at the Gloria located in Dubai Media City. Bear in mind that this hotel is dry, so this is very much a family restaurant – a casual place where you’d feel comfortable bringing your teetotal family and kids, rather than a place you’d go with a bunch of lads or on a first date. Perhaps it’s a place you want to go with your shisha-loving, sports-fanatical family as they have a separate room in the back for shisha where they have TV screens showing the sports.
But what about the food, you ask? Well, the food was actually quite good!
I arrived early because I have this thing. I like to see the food before it gets attacked by hungry buffet-goers and be the first to get my grubby hands on it.
The starters were my favourite part. There’s someone in the kitchen with a very artistic eye, as evidenced by the many plates which were so beautifully arranged, such as this plate of prawn nigiri, inarizushi with ikura (aburaage tofu with salmon roe on top), and another cooked white fish (not sure what that one was). They also had other maki rolls (such as crab stick with tobiko) and veggie options.
I also loved this beef tataki, a Japanese preparation of beef fillet lightly seared, thinly sliced and served with a dipping sauce. I only eat my beef rare, so this was perfect for me. I also loved the presentation.
There was a selection of several other types of salads, served in standard buffet style.
Plus the standard Arabic mezze, which were also well executed.
Outside there’s a small terrace with nothing but a grill where you can choose kebabs (lamb, kofta, chicken) to be grilled fresh for you. Unfortunately you can’t choose one of these eggplants – the cook is chargrilling them to be used in moutabel and baba ghanoush for later. The terrace itself doesn’t have any seating, but it’s adjacent to the room where you can enjoy your shisha.
Here’s the open kitchen, with a guy frying prawn crackers. The mains are oriented around this area and served in the standard buffet line chafing dishes with options such as Thai green curry, chicken katsu, and stir-fry.
This particular evening, the buffet happened to offer a lot of seafood, such as this chili seafood stir-fry.
And this Thai green curry which is loaded with prawns.
One of the things I liked most about this Asian buffet is that they didn’t stop at the obvious Asian cuisines (Chinese, Japanese, Thai). I noticed a few Filipino items on the dessert stand such as these kamote cue, caramelised sweet potatoes on skewers.
And these turon, a kind of sweet banana spring roll.
And this Southeast Asian inside-out pandan cake.
And of course, this totally Asian soft-serve machine.
Verdict: A convenient dining option if you’re in the area. Though you may not be blown away by the ambiance, you’ll definitely have a decent meal.
Note to self: Arrive early to get the first pickings and do the boozing at home.
Note: Apparently La Terrasse is closed for renovation starting from 5 January until end of March 2016 so the theme nights and buffets have temporarily been relocated to The Atrium on the 4th floor.
Gloria Hotel, Level 8
Dubai Media City
Tel: 04 399 6666
Chow for now!