Dubai restaurant apologises after liquid nitrogen spills on diner

Aline Fleihan was taken to hospital and treated for minor burns

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A high-end restaurant in Dubai has apologised after a waiter accidentally spilled liquid nitrogen on a diner during a theatrical presentation of dishes.

Tabu in Downtown Dubai said it was working with local authorities to ensure safety was a top priority after the accident on Friday.

“We are very sorry for our guest’s experience, following this unfortunate incident,” the Japanese restaurant’s founder, David Lescarret, told The National in an email.

“The Tabu team immediately offered first aid and looked after our guest and we are in contact with her.

“We have been working closely with Dubai Municipality, identifying all precautionary measures in place.

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We have been working closely with Dubai Municipality, identifying all precautionary measures in place
David Lescarret, founder, Tabu at the St Regis

“The safety and well-being of all our guests is always our priority, so we gave the authorities every assistance in their investigation, and will make any changes they recommend.”

The restaurant is in the St Regis in Downtown Dubai, but the hotel has no responsibility over the operations of the venue, staff said.

Liquid nitrogen has become popular in more restaurants as it instantly freezes food and drink, creating theatrical plumes of mist and vapour when exposed to the air.

Aline Fleihan, an architect who lives in Saudi Arabia, suffered minor burns when the liquid nitrogen spilled down her back as waiters served a nearby table.

“I hadn’t visited Dubai for three months so I was really looking forward to the trip,” she told The National.

“Thank goodness I was wearing a T-shirt, which prevented worse injuries.

"The liquid nitrogen is minus 196ºC so it doesn’t cause an actual burn, but can destroy the skin and causes instant damage to the contact area.

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“I have injuries on my neck and lower back, now those areas are very dry and itchy. It is not quite frostbite but I have to constantly bathe it in warm water and moisturise my damaged skin.”

After receiving emergency hospital treatment, Ms Fleihan was invited back to the restaurant for a free meal for four.

“When I reached the hospital my back was okay but I was feeling a burning sensation," she said.

“The doctor asked for a photo and when he saw the bottle of liquid nitrogen he was shocked.

“He said I was very lucky to escape with nothing worse. If it had dropped on my face I would have been blinded.

“The waiter was holding the tray above his head, loaded with drinks and plates of sushi.

“It was not well balanced and it could have fallen on to him. It is not just a matter of client safety, but also the staff.”

Diners at the restaurant are promised interactive live cooking, to help them appreciate the ‘beautiful art’ behind Japanese cuisine.

Tasting menus there start at Dh600 per person while a platter of moriawase sushi by chef Roberto Segura will set you back almost Dh800.

Updated: January 26, 2023, 2:11 PM
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