If you were to open a fusion Asian restaurant, what would you name it? Most of us would probably venture in the food labels realm, but who would have thought of Smoking Doll?! Such a uniquely clever name! Love it and love the logo showcasing the the tattooed, fan-bearing Asian doll oozing so much oomph. I was intrigued to know if their food was as good as the name itself.
Smoking Doll currently only has branches in Abu Dhabi (at Galleria Mall and Boutik Mall). As we were at the capital for our staycation at Capital Centre Arjaan by Rotana, we decided to try out Smoking Doll at the Boutik Mall branch.
Located on the Ground Floor right infront of Waitrose supermarket, the front facade of the restaurant is hard to miss. Can’t get enough of the logo! The interiors are very chic with modernesque black furnishings, spruced up with hues of bright orange.
We were there for a very late lunch (post 3 pm), yet the restaurant was buzzing with customers. Smoking Doll seems to be a popular choice, and they seem to draw in even more crowds with some amazing deals.
Love sushi? Every Friday and Saturday, Smoking Doll has an ‘All You Can Eat Sushi’ deal for as low as AED 89 per person. It runs from 1 to 4 pm, so sadly we just missed out on it!
Here is a look at our elaborate Asian-fusion feast at Smoking Doll…
We started off with flavorful bowls of soup. I had Smoking Doll’s Gaeng Jued, a very light, clear seafood and vegetable soup that is absolutely brimming of flavor.
Hubby had the creamier, richer Bangkok Tom Yum soup with prawns. It had the perfect balance of hot and sour, laced with the characteristic freshness of lemongrass and lime leaves. Just the scent of this soup is so therapeutic.
We also indulged in a sinfully delicious serving of Smoking Doll’s Bangkok Tom Yum Prawns. This may be the signature dish that PF Chang’s is best known for, but at Smoking Doll the prawns take on more of a Thai flavor with the addition of fresh chili.
For drinks, we had refreshingly exotic sips of The Gentleman, a mocktail of muddled kumquats, lychees and Thai basil in a lemonade base. The drink is topped with lychee caviar that add pops of flavor with every sip.
Being a huge fan of sushi and sashimi, I ordered Smoking Doll’s 16 Pieces Combo Set. This includes Crispy Salmon Rolls, Spider Rolls, Tuna Sashimi (4 pieces each), and 2 pieces each of Tuna Nigiri and Unagi Nigiri.
My favorites from the platter were the California Rolls (featuring crab, avocado, roasted sesame and tabiko), and the Spider Rolls (crispy soft-shell crab with avocado, cucumber, mayonnaise and tabiko).
However, the show stopper for the evening was Smoking Doll’s signature Smoking Doll Smoking Roll.
Cloaked in a smog of charcoal fumes, the Smoking Doll Smoking Roll features smoked eel, unagi, smoked mayonnaise and pickled cucumber. You can really taste the smoke with every bite!
Our main-course was dominated with many of our Thai favorites. Hubby insisted on trying Smoking Doll’s Pad Kee Mao, his litmus for checking on the authenticity of Thai culinary excellence in a restaurant. The verdict was a huge thumbs up! The noodles were beautifully cooked (not too over, not too soft), and the sauce had the perfect balance of soya saltiness and chili heat.
Smoking Doll’s Pad Kra Kao Prawns was one of my favorites from the night. I love the freshness of holy basil, contrasting with the heat of chili. The prawns were plump and juicy, and coated with the delicious sauce.
At Smoking Doll, you can choose to customize the protein of every dish, and even have them as a vegetarian alternative.
We were told the most popular curry at Smoking Doll is the Smoking Doll Massaman Nuea, a modern take on the bold, meaty red curry of Southern Thailand featuring slow-cooked short ribs. The meat is absolutely melting in the mouth tender, and the curry is rich, creamy and nutty. I found it a tad bit too sweet, but nothing that can’t be fixed with a few extra lashings of fish sauce and chili!
To lighten all that richness, we had Thailand’s favorite Raw Green Papaya Salad with Prawns on the side.
We ended our meal with Thai Mango Sticky Rice, perhaps a little too heavy a dessert given the gastronomic meal we had just indulged in. Thai Mango Sticky Rice is one of my favorite Thai treats, especially the warm, sweetened coconut cream with fresh mango. At Smoking Doll, they enhance this classic combination with the addition of roasted sesame.
I am glad I was not the one driving back home, because after all this over-eating I snoozed all the way home on our way back from Abu Dhabi! Overall, we absolutely loved our very first experience of Smoking Doll. The ambiance, the super-friendly staff and the absolutely lip-smacking array of Asian fusion dishes makes me want to drive all the way to the capital real soon. Really hope they open a branch in Dubai soon!