Hidden in a quiet nook of Jumeirah Lake Towers I is a neon-blue lit restaurant serving up a smorgasbord of Indo-Chinese delicacies. Blue Sapphire is managed by the very debonair Mr. John, who like the cuisine of the restaurant, has an Indo-Chinese background. Chinese by ethnicity, Mr. John grew up in the Eastern Indian state of Calcutta and is now proudly heading the kitchen of Blue Sapphire.
The glistening play of light on the vividly blue waters of JLT gave inspiration for the restaurant’s name, and apart from the stark blue lighting (which played havoc with my camera), the interiors are clean, simple and sparsely decorated with Chinese memorabilia.
They even have whiskered fish in tanks, but these form a part of the decor, not the menu!
The beauty of Blue Sapphire restaurant is that the staff are very adaptive to the way you want your Chinese. Given Mr. John has firsthand knowledge on Chinese cuisine, he is open to serving the dishes as authentically Chinese, Indo-Chinese and even mellowed down to European taste-buds.
When it comes to Chinese, Hubby and I have always been fans of Indo-Chinese and were especially keen on seeing what Mr. John could whip up given his Calcutta background. Taking a keen interest on our dietary preferences, Mr. John asked us what we usually order when eating out, and our tolerance for spice. We love spicy food, so bring it on! I said I want to be breathing out fire like a mythical Chinese dragon!
Browsing through the menu, I was surprised at just how pocket-friendly this place is! With mains starting as low as AED 30 per serving, I thought the serving sizes were made for one serving. However, as we soon discovered, the serving sizes here are very large, and can easily be shared between two very hungry adults (or four polite nibblers).
While we debated on what to order, we were served a complimentary plate of nibbles. These are crispy noodles tossed in a spicy concoction of chilies, crisp fresh cabbage, raw onion and tomatoes. It has the tangy-hot hit of an Indian chaat, and was a great start to our Blue Sapphire experience.
For drinks, my daughter had their Apple Juice. The juices at Blue Sapphire are freshly made, and we were very impressed with this drink. I opted for an Iced Tea. Unfortunately it was far too sweet for my liking, and I couldn’t go beyond the first sip or two.
Chicken Manchow Soup to the rescue! This mildly spiced soup helped cleanse the sweetness of the tea. I’ve always been a fan of Manchow Soup, especially for its crispy noodles. Blue Sapphire did a decent job with this soup, although I found the flavor of cabbage to be a little over-pronounced. I managed to cover this up with big dollops of their chili sauce.
The condiments at Blue Sapphire are all made in-house, and I especially liked this nut-based chili paste who’s name I don’t recall. It had the heat of chili with the creaminess of smooth peanut butter, and worked wonders at enlivening everything I ate.
We were served a platter of mixed Steamed Dumplings. There was a Chicken Dumpling, a Prawn Dumpling and a Vegetarian version too. The fillings of these were deliciously moist, perfectly seasoned and mildly spiced. However, I was not very impressed with the dumpling pastry itself. A steamed dumpling should be moist, translucent and almost slippery to touch. These were rather dough-like and had a chewy texture.
I love Chinese Spinach Chicken, ad had to order a plate. At Blue Sapphire, they have named it Chicken Crackling Spinach. The crisp, deep-fried spinach, garnished with white sesame, was decadently delicious. The boneless cubes of chicken that came with it were soft and succulent, although the sauce was a little too sweet for my liking. When dipped in the spinach (and some of that nutty chili paste!), the chicken comes to life and proves to be far more satiating on the palate.
Blue Sapphire has a starter listed by the name ‘Enter the Dragon’. With a name as interesting like that, we were obliged to order a plate! These are essentially battered and deep-fried balls of mixed vegetables and protein of your choice (we had the chicken version). The outer coating is crisp and crunchy, and reveals a very mushy, moreish filling. Each portion is rather large, and really fills you up. I really enjoyed these, and had it with a mix of all the spicy condiments.
The above was just our appetizers round. For our mains, We tried Blue Sapphire’s Chicken Black Pepper. This was by far our favorite dish for the night. The gravy is a deep, dark brown and has a fiery hit of freshly ground pepper. The boneless chicken pieces are soft and succulent, and have a delicious hint of fresh garlic.
My other favorite from the night was Blue Sapphire’s signature Chicken Blue Schezwan. This chicken fried rice also has bits of noodles tossed in, and the overall seasoning and spices used works so well together that you really don’t need a gravy with this. It is a meal on its own.
We also tried their Crispy Beef Garlic. The beef was crisp and had a good hint of garlic, but I found the sauce a little too sweet. Perhaps I should have asked for this in ‘extra spicy’.
We ended our meal with a generous platter of mixed ice-cream and fresh mango. Needless to say, my little daughter hogged up most of this plate!
Overall, Blue Sapphire is an interesting experience. Given they are located in JLT, the menu options here are very competitively priced and the portion sizes are really large (we had to pack up leftovers). There were a few hit and misses, but if you are not a fan of saucy sweet, you can always consult with the ever-adaptable Mr. John and he can spice things up for you. I would highly recommend their fresh juices, Enter the Dragon, the Chicken Black Pepper and the Chicken Blue Schezwan.
Blue Sapphire is located in Cluster I (JLT, Dubai). They even do deliveries around the vicinity. Give them a call on 04 4298957 and ask for Mr. John.