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FACT Review: MOLI by SHI brings fun and frivolity to Dubai Hills

This upmarket Chinese restaurant spices up dining in Dubai Hills as a place for cocktails, dim sum, and makeshift dance floors.

I did not expect MOLI by SHI to be a hive of activity in a Business Park on a Saturday night. A business park in residential Dubai Hills under the shadow of Du’s headquarters. You should always watch out for the quiet ones, as they say.

MOLI by SHI’s decor is the bold statement of intent. Swathes of dark wood envelop the dining room which, paired with the low lighting, leaves the space heavy with mood. The floor in one section is lit up like a Billie Jean throwback. Dark wood is used liberally throughout, from a towering bar perforated with knee-high red and gold vases to its wood-panelled walls and an engraved wooden ceiling from which oversized white flower chandeliers hover over the dining room floor (FYI, “MOLI” means jasmine). Thin chains partition the inner and outer dining room. It feels a bit like John Wick: Chapter 5.


MOLI by Shi is maximalist and joins a chorus of Chinese openings across the city, such as XU at the Kempinski Mall of the Emirates and Mott32 in Dubai Marina. MOLI by SHI is, in fact, the sister restaurant to SHI in Bluewaters. Chinese cuisine aside, they all have one thing in common: they are happening, and this brings us back to dinner.

MOLI by SHI is full and thumping by 9.30 pm on a Saturday. Dorothy, are we still in family-friendly Dubai Hills, or are we in DIFC? It’s yet another sign that more people choose to stay closer to home with more options opening closer to them. Team SHI was onto something when they stepped into Dubai Hills Business Park and its multitude of restaurants


A boisterous birthday bash orders rounds of drinks and not one but two signature roasted ducks with foie gras, caviar and sushi rice (AED 325) that look so good, I nearly go over to introduce myself to the table. 

MOLI by SHI’s menu focuses on contemporary Chinese cuisine, drawing on familiar flavours and dishes but adding their spin. The initial dim sum courses speak to the kitchen’s sense of humour as lobster dumplings (AED 105) resembling koi carp are almost too adorable to eat. Almost. Crumbly-soft chicken and carrot puffs, shaped like carrots, are a whimsical take (AED 60). Classic crimson chang fen with tiger prawn is often served in long barrels, but pleasingly MOLI by SHI serves them bite-sized (AED 95). A duck salad, which we are told draws regulars from Abu Dhabi, balances bright citrus with fatty-rich duck, all tumbled together with fresh leaves (AED 125). De rigueur edamame, crunchy with Maldon salt, is both charred and smokey (AED 35). 


Between appetisers and mains is when the birthday table and an adjacent table of strangers join forces impromptu to fashion a makeshift dance floor and shake it like no one was watching. I did wonder if the birthday group would miss their second duck at that moment.

Our mains of Chao Zhou steam turbot (AED 195) and cornfed chicken with morel mushrooms (AED 185) arrive, and while there is a lot of skill on show (especially with the cornfed chicken), MOLI by SHI excels with its small dishes and dim sum.

Veganuary in Dubai

Would I return? MOLI by SHI is open from noon until very late, offering lunches, business lunches and, of course, a dinner service. Their sweet spot is what the kids call ‘a vibe’: a place to get together and celebrate, either for lively brunches or evenings where you’re “out-out”. The dim sum dishes and the licensed cocktail menu are their strong suit. I would come back for all of this and maybe order the barbecued lamb rack (AED 190) and a baked char siu bao (AED 70).

GO: Visit for reservations and more information. 

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Liam Collens
Liam Collens is a reviewer and drone photographer based in Dubai. He is passionate about good food, restaurants, travel and drone photography.

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