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With the onset of globalisation, increased awareness about different cuisines and people willing to experiment, many regional cuisines are being celebrated on a global platform. Japanese cuisine, which comes embodied with centuries of tradition and culture, is one such cuisine. The perfectly balanced flavours, with simple, clean elements of this cuisine, were a refreshing change, however, not made for every palate. The high level of skill and techniques required of it give it its exclusivity and still is coveted. The people of Dubai have taken a particular liking to this cuisine and is showcased in many fine dine restaurants.
Over the years, with many new Japanese restaurants popping up in the city, Zuma has managed to maintain its charm and standards. The stylish yet modest space has lovely bamboo features, chiselled stone granite in Japanese features and intricately carved wood detailing. The place has a very pleasant and welcoming vibe. The dishes have clean, well-balanced flavours with subtle innovations adding spice to the food. While the Sushi and Sashimi are expertly made and melt in the mouth, this place serves the best beef dishes in town. The Wagyu Beef served here is an experience in itself along with the spicy Beef Tenderloin, which is tender and has a nutty flavour with a spice punch in the end. All in all, they will take you on an incredible gastronomical journey.
With close to 25 restaurants across five continents, started by celebrity Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Nobu is also one of the most acclaimed Japanese restaurants in Dubai. The décor, in reflection to the cuisine, is done with immense amount of care and attention given to detailing. The dark hues and dim lighting give a formal and elegant vibe with natural elements such as the thatch on the walls giving it a certain amount of warmth. The menu offers a mix of Japanese classics along with fusion dishes with bold flavours to entice the diner. The Sashimi Salad was the star of the meal, with paper-thin slices cut with precision tossed in an appetising dressing. The Black Cod Miso, however, is the crowd favourite. The combination of crisp skin and silky texture of the flesh with a delectable miso glaze makes the palate come alive.
Another award winning restaurant with impressive Japanese food is Okku. The elegant interiors of this place emanate luxury. With warm yellow against the dark black and brown give it a stylish persona and could very well be a set from one of the James Bond movies. The place might give out a standoffish vibe, but once seated the warm welcome and service puts you at ease. Do-try the Sushi with a perfect balance of flavours and textures, especially the Taraba Summer Roll filled with generous amounts of crab. The fact that all the seafood used is procured from sustainable sources is what won my heart and elevated the experience to a whole new level.
Miyako, the fine dine restaurant at Hyatt Regency Deira offers a whole different Japanese-inspired experience. The name itself means ‘the capital’ in Japanese, which according to legends was the centre of all civilisation in Japan. The décor is inspired by the Zen elements of the Japanese culture such as tatami mats and charred wood panels. The warm beach wood walls with cobblestone flooring give out a very calm and tranquil vibe. The menu has a variety of regional dishes showcased with a separate Teppanyaki menu available. Experience the joy of live cooking and witness the chef showcase his skills as you perch on the seats near the teppanyaki bar. The Agedashi Tofu or the deep-fried bean curd with a seaweed salad is a simple yet appetising way to start the meal. The Tuna Sashimi and the Nigiri Sushi are expertly prepared and made with the freshest ingredients. The authentic Miso Soup dishes with rice or noodles are a must-try, made in a well-balanced stock and the right combinations of ingredients.
But for the ultimate sushi experience head to Moshi – Momo & Sushi, with abundant variety at pocket-friendly prices. The orange in the interiors with the bamboo logs gives it a very positive vibe. They serve a combination of Nepali and Japanese cuisine with outstanding food. Although I was hesitant in ordering sushi from such a small place, their quality and freshness left me spellbound. The Sushi Lover Platter is the perfect way to sample the selection on offer, with 18 pieces including a mix of Sashimi, Nigiri and Maki Rolls. The Prawn Miso Soup is also a must-try.