Streetery Food Hall by Zen
Years ago, when I lived in Business Bay – in the days where there weren’t proper roads and the skyline had not yet risen – there were very few order-in food options who would deliver (without the customary inflated minimum order price tag). I don’t remember how I came across a restaurant called Zen, but it was like a god-send. I remember calling up the restaurant and the gentleman who took my order turned out to be the owner too (something I learned over the weekly calls I made to the restaurant) and as I gave him my address, it turned out had lived in the same building as me but had recently moved out – so in essence we had also been neighbours without really realizing it. But for 4 years that I lived in the neighbourhood, Zen was a constant.
I was totally perplexed with the name – Streetery Food Hall by Zen – the name was a mouthful – too long, conjured up images of cramped food courts in malls – but the Zen at the end triggered my memory – and a search said it was opened by the same guys from my old neighbourhood. What’s in a name! It was time to try it out.
A friend and I had a long overdue meet-up and I suggested we go to Streetery (the word on the street is that its now referred to as this simpler moniker – pun totally intended). It opened in February (so about 2 months now) and it seems to have got quite popular very fast – and I can see why. The ambiance has a more Asian street style with 3 kitchens each serving up something different each having its own restaurant name (hence Food Hall):
- Zen – Chinese and Thai (salads, mains and starters)
- Fat Aunt’s – Singaporean and Malay (curries and dim sums)
- Hing Kee – Hong Kong (barbecue)
I had arrived earlier, so I had a chance to familiarize myself with the menus and also have a chat with a lovely lady – Ranjana – whose suggestions of what I should try were kept in mind.
Looking the options – my friend and I zeroed in on the menus of Fat Aunt’s and Hing Kee. Some how we felt that the choices on the Zen menu were similar to what we could get elsewhere (I am sure they would have tasted brilliant) – but I wanted to try something that I was not that familiar with.
You are given 3 menus on which you can tick off what you want and go and order at a central kiosk. They took my details saying they would put me into their system for their loyalty program they plan to start next month. Orders placed, I returned to our table to continue chatting and catching up.
I wanted to try a drink (no alcohol at Streetery) but they don’t have a menu for that and honestly the names shared with me just threw me – none of them sounded familiar and I could not read off a menu to order – so thought it best to stick with water.
My only grouse was that the food all arrived at the same time – not ideal – because by the time I got to the curry – the roti had gone cold. I had asked them if they could stagger the dishes but was told that it would come as soon as it was ready. I have a few suggestions but let me be clear – none of them have any bearing on the taste – I enjoyed the flavours or each and everything we tried.
From Hing Kee we ordered:
Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce – honestly, I wasn’t quite keen on trying this – chicken satay is a staple on nearly every Asian menu and like I said I wanted to try something different. When Ranjana said that we should try, and she guaranteed me that it would be different and something I haven’t tried before – I was a bit skeptical – but we went ahead a ordered it. It was different – and I am so glad that I listen to peoples suggestions sometimes – this one totally was worth it.
From Fat Aunt’s we ordered:
Chicken and Prawn Siumai Dim Sum – since the quantity of the dim sums is not mentioned on the menu, I asked the manager – and he said 6. It was more a general question. But when our dim sum arrived – it came with only 4 pieces.
Suggestion: include the number of pieces per plate on their menu – there is are no chances of disappointment and left feeling short changed.
Malay Chicken Curry with Malay Roti – the taste of this was brilliant – I have to recommend it. My only let down as I mentioned earlier was that the roti had got cold by the time I had it. We of course ordered more rotis and those came hot – what a difference to the taste when you have a curry with a hot side.
Suggestion: if you cannot stagger dishes in the way they are served, send out the curry, but keep the rotis till when the people are ready to eat. It hardly took 3 minutes for us to get our extra roti. I am sure if you inform your diners to order the rotis when they are ready to eat it so they will get it hot – I think they are more likely to appreciate it.
And to think all this was easy on the pocket. Our 3 dishes and a large bottle of water (local) came to around AED 100. I think it was so well worth it. I just hope they manage to hold on to the affordability.
I loved the vibe, I loved the food, I loved the people and I will definitely go back – hopefully in the daytime so my photos look at bit more appealing 😊
Location: Streetery Food Hall by Zen, Lake Level, Cluster D, Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT), Dubai Open from 11 AM – 11 PM Telephone: +971 4 5873373