Smoking Doll

Fast, but only decent Asian mall food in a sleek setting Discuss this article

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We arrive at Smoking Dolls fashionably late for lunch, the joint is not exactly jumping.

On arrival, we are met by a waitress who is incredibly friendly. The décor is modern and sleek, and there is a lovely garden seating area in the Al Reem Boutik Mall location. We opt for indoor seating this time.

The menu is a jaw-dropping array of Asian cuisine, boasting everything from Thai curries to Chinese stir fries. Smoking Dolls has recently begun offering sushi and sashimi as well. The sushi menu has all the standards that sushi menus should have, but nothing that particularly stands out.

We start with chicken steamed dumplings and Vietnamese vegetarian summer rolls to share.

The waitress comes around moments after we order to see what we would like for our mains. We feel slightly rushed as we had asked for a bit more time. We opt to share tom yum soup (extra spicy), sweet and sour chicken and Thai vegetable green curry (medium spicy). Five minutes after ordering, dishes start to appear at the table. The food is gorgeous and the portions are small.

Some dishes are hits and others misses. We sample them in the proper order despite them all being on the table at once, with the mains getting a little cold as a result. The dumplings are soggy and the watery filling spills out before you can get your chopsticks around them. What does stay in, promptly falls out into the dipping sauce. The summer rolls are gorgeous: they are crisp and healthy, like biting into a delicately wrapped salad. We are fans of the Enoki mushrooms.

We try the tom yum soup, which is lukewarm and lacking in the Smoking Dolls zesty Thai umami flavour. It is lacklustre, not as spicy as we had asked for and has very few ingredients, rendering it merely a bowl of lukewarm broth. The green curry suffers a similar fate as the tom yum soup. It lacks flavour and is very thin. It doesn’t have the creaminess that should come from the coconut milk in the dish and it too has very few vegetables in it, making it another not-so-spicy broth.

The sweet and sour chicken, on the other hand, is a great dish. It’s well balanced and full of vegetables. We order another vegetable dish, still feeling peckish. Chinese broccoli is brought to us as swiftly as the other dishes, as though it was already made, and they had read our minds. It suspiciously lacks Chinese broccoli, but is replete with its European counterpart and other vegetables.

It’s difficult to put our finger on our opinion on Smoking Dolls. While being standout for mall food, big issues with a number of dishes mean it’s lacking as a sit down restaurant. We leave thinking the emphasis here is too much on being fast and friendly, and less on quality.

The bill (for two):
Chicken & corn dumplings Dhs26
Vietnamese summer rolls Dhs22
Green curry with veg Dhs45
Tom yum soup with tofu Dhs24
Sweet & sour chicken Dhs45
Jasmine rice Dhs8
Chinese broccoli Dhs22
Total (excl. service) Dhs192

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.

Details

  • Location: Boutik Mall, Al Reem Island, Abu Dhabi
  • Tel: 600 560 603
  • Travel: Reem Island
  • Cuisine: Asian
  • Times: Open daily 11am-11pm

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