Review: Were we taken with Taikun?

Guarded by a Godzilla model at the entrance, Taikun is a Downtown restaurant with a loyal following. We’ve come along to see what all the noise is about.

Taikun is located in the high-style district of the Emaar-dominated Downtown; set along the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, at Vida Hotel. There’s no real connection to the Liam Neeson movie trilogy of a similar name, but we’ve heard that when it comes to intelligent Eastern cuisine, they have a very particular set of skills.

The restaurant proudly offers authentic pan-Asian dishes, including favourites from Chinese and Japanese culinary culture.

We cross the atmospheric bamboo-hemmed reception with its immense ceilings and are offered a choice of interior or terraced seating. The main area is beautifully decorated with terracotta pots and traditional oriental ornaments that provide an interesting contrast with the more modern DJ booth.

It’s Wednesday night and there is quite a flow of visitors “our ladies’ night is quite famous around town” explains our server, walking with us to our table.

The main seating area faces five long maple counters that correspond to each of the venue’s different kitchens: Robata, Wok and Tempura, Sushi, Pastry and Dim-Sum.

We open our Taikun account with some chilli edamame (AED 32), a beautiful tone-setting balance of spice and salt on the tastebuds. We also try the delightfully elaborate salmon and crab tempura roll maki (AED 70), comprised of enchanting melt-in-the-mouth textures. The dynamite shrimp (AED 75) rounded off our entree order and like the former, did not disappoint. Delicate, fluffy tempura batter, piquant dynamite sauce, a solid start.

Our main dishes are the Asian mushroom noodles (AED 65), which is crafted using three different kinds of mushroom; Malay wok beef (AED 50); and salmon with apricot jam.

The beef is super tender, lightly spicy, and given a pleasing sharp South East Asian edge by the infusion of lime. The salmon is perfectly cooked, plump and flaky, sweet and soulful. But the night’s clear favourite is the mushroom noodles and their deep undulating waves of umami that flood the palate with every mouthful.

You can’t leave without tasting the vanilla chocolate cream maux AED 55, a uniquely exotic dessert with chewy chocolate texture.

Taikun is not a new kid on the block; it’s been serving up platefuls of Far-Eastern flair for the past four years. Over this time it’s developed a loyal and vocal clientele from across the seven emirates. What keeps them coming back? They say the secret is to be consistent with quality and worthwhile promotions. We suggest the exceptional service might have something to do with it too.

Taikun offers a range of deals for the bargain-hungry diner and they’re a great way to navigate the menu highlights. There are set plates, business lunches, ladies’ nights, sushi nights, happy hours, geisha nights, brunches and weekend specials.

In short, an exciting and confident restaurant serving top quality food at affordable prices.

Dubai Week dined as a guest of the restaurant.

Taikun opens, noon-5pm and 6pm-1am. Approx pricing AED 370 for two people. Vida Hotel, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown. 04 4428383.

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