Looking for a chilled out space to hang out after a busy weekday? Add sea views, upbeat music by resident DJ’s, and lip-smacking contemporary Japanese cuisine, and Dubai dwellers in the know will, without hesitation, point you in the direction of Sho Cho.
Established in 2000, Sho Cho celebrated its 15 year mark in the Dubai foodie scene last week. When asked what they owe their success to, the recipe is as simple as sushi: a great location combined with funky new-age décor, contemporary Japanese dishes that appeal to everyone including the non-adventurous, and unmatched customer service.
With the weather cooling down to breezier evenings, we spent a laidback Wednesday after work at Sho Cho, alfresco. At Sho Cho, everything is lit up in vivid blue to accentuate the sea views, and upbeat tunes from the resident DJ made us feel right at home.
We were lucky to get a table facing the sea, as despite being a weekday, the place was packed! 11th November was Diwali, and we also got great views of fireworks by Burj Kahlifa from our table.
You can also opt to dine indoors at Sho Cho, but given the lovely weather, no one was found inside!
We started off with a round of drinks. The drinks menu is predominated with Japanese-sounding names, and they even have a separate drinks menu dedicated to different types of sake.
I had Sho Cho’s Tilen, a mildly sour drink that combines ‘Grey Goose’ vodka with Japanese sake. It has the exotic flavors of lemongrass muddled in, and garnished with cucumber and celery.
Hubby had Sho Cho’s Sakeria, a fruity blend of sake, vodka, Sauvignon Blanc, Cherry Brandy and slices of fresh fruit.
To accompany our drinks, we ordered Sho Cho’s Prawn and Coriander Gyoza Japanese Dumplings. These steamed dumplings are stuffed with a delectable mix of minced prawn that is mildly accentuated with the freshness of coriander leaves. The dumplings are gently pan-fried to brown the outer layer, giving each bite a slight crispness, and a dunk of the dumpling into the accompanying ponzu sauce adds a depth of saltiness that brings the seafood flavors to life.
The other appetizer on our table was Sho Cho’s Soft Shell Crab Spring Rolls. These crunchy, deep-fried rolls are packed with crabmeat. The stuffing itself is very mildly flavored, but dipping each bite into the Cucumber & Wasabi Mayonnaise gives this roll a hit of yumminess! I absolutely loved this dip. I could eat the whole bowlful by itself if it was socially acceptable! It has the creaminess of mayo and a mild heat of wasabi, yet it also manages to be tangy at the same time. Absolutely delicious!
When at Sho Cho, ofcourse we had to have sushi! Unsure of which variety to order, we went for the Sho Cho Lounge Special which is good enough to share between two. This is a generous serving of sashimi, sushi and maki and we got our chopsticks clicking over all this yumminess.
By this stage, our glasses were empty and we ordered our next round of drinks. This time round, I went for Sho Cho’s Bison Julep, and Hubby decided to try their Geisha. Funny how in both rounds, I ended up with the green glass, and hubby the berry-tinted option!
Sho Cho’s Bison Julep is a fruity-sour muddle of Bison Grass Vodka, Amaretto, apple juice and passionfruit puree. Geisha on the other hand is vodka with peach schnapps, cherry brandy and cranberry juice.
For those watching their calories, the drinks menu at Sho Cho has a ‘Skinny Cocktails’ section that lists drinks with lower calories, and even mentions how many calories are gulped per serving.
Given Sho Cho has been a part of the Dubai culinary scene for 15 years running, the restaurant has a special selection of six ‘Signature Dishes’ on the menu. We decided to try out two of these; the Beef Tenderloin with Teriyaki Sauce and the Rock Shrimp Tempura with Chili and Garlic Sauce.
We asked to have the beef tenderloin medium-rare, and boy was it ‘bloody’ good (pun intended)! The meat was beautifully tender, and that smother of teriyaki was flavorful without overshadowing the goodness of beef. It was served with a small bowl of steamed rice, which went untouched. We were enjoying the beef all by itself!
The rock shrimp tempura dish comes in a generously large serving. The combination of chili and garlic sauces on the deep-fried battered shrimp was exceptionally delicious, and we took solace from all that richness with the bed of greens it sat on.
By the dessert round, we were really stuffed and decided to share a Molten Chocolate Cake between the two of us.
If you decide to order a molten chocolate cake at Sho Cho, do so well in advance as there is a 25 minute waiting time (which is all fine and dandy with their gorgeous views of the sea!). The cake is baked in-house, and is definitely worth the wait. It was still warm when it hit the table, and look at all that chocolate lava oozing out!
Unlike regular molten chocolate cakes, Sho Cho adds a Japanese twist to this popular dessert by offering it in two varieties: green tea or ginger. We had the ginger variation, and could taste the characteristic heat of ginger running through that deep, dark chocolate. It was divinely delicious with an exotic accent!
Overall, we had a great evening at Sho Cho. Given we are finally getting to enjoy alfresco dining, the sea views at this place accompanied by the amazing food and fun, laidback ambiance makes it the place to be. It would be ideal for a weeknight out with friends, or even an intimate dating spot. Would love to see what they have planned for New Year’s!
Sho Cho is located in Marine Beach Resort & Spa (Jumeirah 1, Dubai). For more details on Sho Cho, visit their website. They also have a branch in Abu Dhabi!