Pax Ristorante - A CitiSpi Review

Dusit Thani is the iconic building on the Sheikh Zayed Road with two connecting towers and the jewel in the Dusit crown.  I have heard a lot about the Thai hotel from Benjarong to Namm Spa but on this occasion, I was recommended the seafood menu at Pax Ristorante.  Pax is located on the 24th floor of the hotel.  It offers refined Italian fayre and the menu promises a Mediterranean journey through a multitude of seafood decadence for the month of April.  If that’s the case I’m in!

We arrive at the hotel for lunch.  The staff are immediately warm and friendly from the car.  I am parked in the wrong place but an official looking gentleman tells me not to worry – they will sort it out for me as he opened the door.  I can honestly say I didn’t open another door throughout the hotel.  We take the lift to the 24th floor.  The hotel quality stands out and I am told by the staff member in the lift that the rooms were renovated in 2015 and Dusit as a company is always seeking to improve its properties!  Good to hear!

 

We are brought to a table with a breathtaking view.  It is a clear day and the view stretches to the Burj al Arab on one side and a very close view of the Burj Khalifa on the other.  It feels like you are sitting in an oasis of calm overlooking the busy Sheikh Zayed Road and I love that.  Lily is our waitress and she can’t help enough.  She explains the menu and Chef Mehdi comes over.  He obviously loves his job and the food he creates.  He explains the Seafood Delight menu which features a delicious Octopus Salad with blood orange and black garlic dressing.  I ask him what is the most popular dish they create and he says that the calamari is  fantastic.  Fresh from England he says with a smile.   

 

We settle on several dishes to share for our starter.  Rather than choose the entire Seafood Delight menu, we opt for the Insalata di Polpo all’arancia rossa e aglio nero.  That’s Octopus salad to us non-Italian speakers.  We add a Caprese Salad as I can’t come to an Italian restaurant and not have this.  For luck and out of curiosity we order the Calamari Fritti, thanks to the recommendation of the Chef.  As it is lunchtime I don’t want a heavy main like filet steak or lamb so my friend orders the Bresaola pizza and I am particularly taken by the Tagliatelle Nere Fatte in Casa all’aragosta.  More on that later!  We stick to sparkling water as our drink of choice though the wine list is tempting.  I clocked the Dom Perignon in the cabinet on the way in.  Don’t think I will ever be brave enough to ask for the price of a bottle in the UAE!

We are hungry when the starters arrive on a trolley!  It is such a nice way to receive food.  The Octopus Salad is a work of art.  Seems a shame to eat it…but we did.  There are 3 tentacles perfectly cooked on crostini with segments of blood orange to perfectly complement the mollusc along with little perfect dots of black garlic.  The combination is beautiful and the entire thing is devoured in minutes.   Next stop the calamari.   Chef Mehdi was right!  It really is the best calamari I have ever tasted.  The batter was so light and the calamari fresh and appetizing.  The mint dip that accompanied was the perfect pairing.  I would never have put mint and calamari together.  It might sound strange that we choose octopus and octopus but the dishes were so completely different and delicious.  We still left room for the succulent tomato and mozzarella Caprese Salad.  The tomatoes were skinned and the ball of cheese were side by side drizzled by olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  The softer tomatoes were different to other Caprese that we have had in the past but again fresh and yummy.  The cheese was creamy with a firm texture.  Perfect timing for eating!   At this point, it is fair to say that Chef Mehdi is new and is already making a difference to the team.  He is focused on creating great food from fantastic ingredients and you can taste it.

 
 

Our mains arrive just when we are ready.  The staff are attentive and water glasses are always full.   The dish I ordered as I said earlier is Tagliatelle Nere Fatte in Casa all’aragosta.  Wow!  Lobster black ink tagliatelle.  The tagliatelle pasta has been made from squid ink.  Octopus again!  The tomato based sauce is seasoned perfectly and the chunks of lobster are delicious.  I would say that it is worth going to Pax Ristorante for this dish alone.  We all wanted more of it.  This is the main event.  On the other side of the table the Bresaola pizza smells delicious.  A mixture of meat and rocket.   We both try it and again it doesn’t disappoint.  The theme of the lunch is great ingredients, great flavours, great execution.  Honestly! 

 

Any more room?  No not really but you can’t come to an Italian restaurant without at least sampling the tiramisu.  My friend orders the sorbet and a coffee!  She is a lot healthier than me.   Lily takes our dessert order during our main course to make sure that we get everything on time.  It is lunch after all and we have things to do later.    The tiramisu comes in an orange coffee cup.  So, cute.  Coffee, tiramisu, get it?  It is decorated with pretty little edible flowers which makes it even more rustic.  The first bite is a perfect synergy of sponge, moisture and cream.  Exactly what a true tiramisu should be.  I am feeling smug with my choice.  My friend instantly tastes her sorbet and says “This is so amazing – try it!!!”   “OK” I say, “But it won’t be as good as my tiramisu.”  Ha-ha it is magnificent.  The homemade strawberry sorbet is the best I have tasted.  Frozen little mouthfuls of perfect strawberry ice.  I am silenced.  And that never happens.

All in all, Pax Ristorante was a surprise to me and my friend.  We wanted a girlie catch up at a nice restaurant and got much more.  The team at Dusit Thani are great.  They are friendly, knowledgeable and welcoming.  I don’t know what their team training is but they all seem motivated and passionate about fulfilling every job.  The food at Pax was excellent and surpassed both our expectations.  I had heard it has gotten much better so well done to the Chef.  Would I go back?  And I know what I would order!  Octopus, octopus and sorbet. 

Each word is true!  It is our experience and opinion.  Let us know if you agree!