After not eating Thai for some time, I’ve now eaten it twice in the span of two weeks. First at Thiptara and now at Sukhothai. Perfect time to start loading up on Thai food considering Songkran is celebrated this week.
Songkran is the water festival celebrating the traditional Thai new year. And between 13-15 April, Sukhothai will be hosting a special night bazaar and dinner to celebrate the occasion.
This restaurant has been around for years and is located within the Le Méridien Village, a enclave of restaurants within Le Méridien’s sprawling hotel and conference centre complex. But it’s the perfect location for a Songkran celebration.
When you approach the restaurant (particularly in the evening) you can almost imagine that you’ve been transported to Southeast Asia. You walk past many outdoor eateries to get there, and when you finally arrive, the outside of the restaurant might remind you of a Thai temple in dark wood with pointy arched gables. The interior is decked out in traditional Thai design and there are beautiful ladies dressed in traditional Thai garb who periodically dance and play instruments in the middle of the restaurant. And pose for photos on demand – in this case with my drink, the Sukhothai mocktail which is an absolute must-have.
We had a preview of the Songkran menu before the real deal, but across the three nights, there will be a buffet set up with starters and live cooking stations while mains will be brought fresh to your table. They’ll also have vendors selling their wares to give the night bazaar vibe, live entertainment, as well as a mock Muay Thai kickboxing performance in the courtyard.
But let’s move on to more important things, shall we?
The food! We sampled a few of the starters from the Songkran menu including a traditional chicken satay, a Thai prawn salad, and beautiful chicken and peanut dumplings in a lavender dough coloured with blue pea flowers (apparently not food colouring like one of the waiters told us).
The mains on offer for the Songkran menu will be a chicken green curry, a lobster red curry, a beef dish, and stir-fried veggies. I love Thai food for the balance of spicy and sweetness and I find at many restaurants in Dubai, they have too much of one and not enough of the other. But at Sukhothai, both were just perfect for me. (We ordered our food spicy.)
Aside from the blue pea dumplings and the dessert, the dishes at Sukhothai don’t have the same impressive presentation as Thiptara, but they were still delicious tastewise and I’m more than happy with that. Below the not-so-attractive Thai green curry.
The lobster red curry didn’t look all that either but it was still very good.
I’m a big meat eater but this grilled beef was my least favourite dish as the meat wasn’t quite tender or fatty enough for me.
Alongside were rice and stir-fried veggies with oyster sauce.
For dessert, I was finally able to try another version of the tab tim grob (a.k.a. Thai falooda). Sukhothai’s version was simple and actually quite elegant – not overly sweet with ruby-coloured, tapioca-coated water chestnuts, palm seeds, coconut milk, shaved ice and pieces of jackfruit.
Sukhothai’s Songkran Bangkok Bazaar is AED 199 per person for food only and AED 249 per person inclusive of house beverages. From 13-15 April from 7 pm to 11 pm. If you miss out on those days, a special Songkran a la carte menu will be available until the end of April.
Verdict: Like the manager says, Sukhothai will provide you with a more authentic Thai experience – from the food to the entertainment to the ambience to the Muay Thai kickboxing demonstrations (for Songkran only!) It’s like taking a mini trip to Thailand!
Note to self: Thiptara when you want to impress guests with a stunning view of the fountains. Sukhothai when you want to forget you’re in Dubai.
Chow for now!