Located at Jumeirah Al Qasr, and surrounded by the lush greenery of its gardens, Pai Thai is an award-winning Thai restaurant serving aromatic, traditional dishes. Here, Xiahoui Shi, general manager of the venue, shares her secrets to keeping operations smooth, and the experience even smoother.
Tell us about yourself and your background.
I was born and raised in China and have been living in Dubai since 2009. My F&B career started in Dubai and extends across Asia and the Middle East, where I have had the opportunity to work at some of the world’s leading restaurants, including the Michelin-starred franchise venue Hakkasan Dubai, Ba Restaurant and Lounge at Fairmont The Palm, and Jing An Shangri-La in Shanghai, to name a few.
As the general manager at Pai Thai, I oversee a team of 33 and lead the front-of-house team, while also making sure the back-of-house team works in tandem to ensure a great dining experience for our guests.
Working in hospitality, it’s important to craft and maintain a well-defined customer journey to encourage return guests and this has been a key focus for me as I have a passion for creating personable experiences with my guests and encouraging my team to do the same. The professional growth of my team is another important priority of mine, and I strive to enable each of them to achieve their career goals while maximising guest satisfaction.
What makes the Pai Thai experience unique?
Pai Thai is one of Dubai’s most authentic Thai restaurants, serving the finest cuisine with both indoor and al fresco dining options available. One of my favourite parts of Pai Thai is that the experience begins with an abra ride through the Madinat Jumeirah before guests arrive, and when they reach the restaurant, they are welcomed by a Thai gong and a traditional lemongrass-infused hand sanitisation ritual before, being taken to their table to enjoy traditional welcome drinks.
What sets Pai Thai apart from other Thai restaurants?
It’s truly a bucket list experience. The restaurant has an extensive menu and a variety of unique offerings, all of them featuring authentic Thai recipes, using only the highest quality ingredients, served with the signature Pai Thai touch.
Our culinary team underwent an immersive exploration trip to Thailand to scout the best Thai ingredients and find additional dish and technique inspiration from across the country, to ensure that we provide our guests with a truly authentic Thai experience.
Tell us about the renovation that Pai Thai underwent earlier this year.
The extensive refurbishment, which took place earlier this year, further enhanced the authenticity of the Pai Thai experience, drawing inspiration direct from Thailand across both its interior and exterior. During the planning, it was especially important to focus the design on all the senses, and through the use of scents, sounds, colours and materials accentuate Thai culture. Each area of the restaurant offers a different flair and function.
We have created a brand-new bar lounge which blends the outdoor with the indoor and serves as the ideal pre- and post-meal drink spot. Inspired by the Thai residence of Jim Thompson – the American businessman known for revitalising the Thai silk industry – the restaurant’s interiors feature eclectic Asian and colonial touches throughout. Pai Thai really is an experience for all the senses.
Talk us through the menu offerings.
In addition to our extensive a la carte menu, we have a variety of other specially curated F&B offerings. Pai Thai’s popular brunch concept, The Rite of Siam is available every Friday from 12.30pm-4pm, delivering an authentic culinary journey complemented by a beverage selection and an ambient lounge atmosphere provided by a live DJ. Guests can indulge in four courses of Pai Thai’s very best family sharing-style dishes, featuring much-loved signatures.
Another one of our other signature offerings is the 5 Tastes of Thailand, which takes diners on a carefully crafted culinary journey based around the five primary tastes – bitter, salty, spicy, sour and sweet. The set menu is available for a minimum of two people throughout the week and allows diners to experience the key flavours of Thai cuisine, while sampling a variety of Pai Thai’s classic dishes.
One of the restaurant’s most recent introduced concepts, Siam Sunsets, is a three-course dinner offering available Sunday through Wednesday between 6pm and 8pm, providing for a leisurely evening meal complete with amazing views and stunning sunsets. On weekends, diners can take advantage of Kin Samrap – meaning ‘eating fine food’ in Thai – which is exactly what the set menu offers every Saturday from 12pm-6pm.
What new experiences can diners expect in the future?
In December, we have a line-up of festive menus and offerings planned, but you’ll have to wait and see what exactly we have up our sleeve!