Taking it to the next level.
Located at Fairmont The Palm, the Bā restaurant and lounge offers a delectable menu that draws influence from all over China, amidst picture-perfect sunset vistas over the Arabian Gulf.
Discerningly named after the number eight (‘BÀ’ in Mandarin), an auspicious numeral in Chinese mythology that symbolizes wealth, prosperity and good fortune, the location and name of the restaurant perhaps is an apt choice since the Palm also represents prosperity for the city of Dubai.
A red carpet entrance leads up to a dry uninspiring hallway with beautiful inviting lights at the end that pace the way to the black floored restaurant.
The lounge features a curved ceiling design that plays on the number eight; a subtle touch for those whose eyes wander.
From the friendly staff in the hotel lobby, to every nuance in the repertoire, the service feels personal. The lady serving us at the bar had a well designed uniform and carried our drinks on an illuminated white tray.
The entrance opens to the upper tier lounge and beautiful bar area. Down a flight of stairs you are greeted by a lower-level dining space decorated in elegant black and imperial yellow. The restaurant has high ceilings from which glistening curls of yellow-blown glass hang. The dining area is a bit spaced out and perhaps overly lit.
The pillars of the restaurant are made of mirror and have plastic bamboo shoots that had lights in them. Perhaps, a substandard design for the restaurant.
Although the interiors are modern, the restaurant does not have much of a Chinese spirit.
Our waiter shared some knowledgeable and well thought-out recommendations and explanations of the menu. He said there is one main chef in the Bā kitchen cooking traditional dishes from 8 different regions of China.
As a teetotaler, I was not able to enjoy the extensive wine list which has eighty eight wines.
See a pattern emerging yet? Bā loves their eights.
What Bā lacks in design sensibilities and décor, they more than make up for it in their food department.
We ordered half a Peking duck, which (regardless of whether you opt for the full or half portion) arrives as two courses. First up are classic pancakes of roast duck and hoisin sauce, lovingly carved and rolled beside the table and made with deliciously fresh pancakes.
As soon as the first pancake entered my mouth, I felt I had been whirled into warp speed aboard the USS Enterprise.
My mind had not been prepared for how delicious the Peking duck was going to be.
I would have been content to have just the pancakes for dinner but, no, there was the second course to come.
Post the Star Trek joyride courtesy of the Peking duck pancakes, we were offered a choice of two dishes made with the remaining duck flesh, in true Beijing style.
The fried duck bones were laden with quite a bit of tender meat, and doused with a lively salt, pepper and chili seasoning. ‘Yin-yang’ shrimp dumplings (two made with normal dough and two with squid ink-tinted dough) were attractive and well-made.
In the interim between the duck and our next item I admired the cutlery before me.
The design on the glasses mimicked the pattern on the walls. The long thin black forks and knives were aesthetically pleasing and functional as well.
The cutlery had kept me preoccupied and I only came out of my reverie when the smell of the kung pao chicken hit me.
I thought I had sampled the best dish for the night in the Peking duck but was I wrong.
The instant the chicken hit my tongue, my mind and taste buds were in over drive and my jaw dropped. I cannot describe it aptly other than saying I was awestruck just as I had been when Darth Vader tells Luke Skywalker, "I am your father," in The Empire Strikes Back. One has to try both of these dishes and they will not be disappointed.
Taking a cue from the popular and successful model of creating an oriental lounge bar and dining space in Dubai, Bā puts a Chinese-inspired twist on that standard and takes Chinese cuisine in Dubai to the next level.
Among fun activities and things to do in Dubai, United Arab Emirates is dining out and Bā is certainly among the top choices to go.