Named after the much-loved Japanese animation character, Manga Sushi is a spectacular world of its own. With a cherry blossom tree right at the front, a graffiti wall, Origami lighting and waitresses dressed up Japanese school-girl style (high socks and all), walking into this restaurant is like relishing a slice of Eastern pop culture that is so strikingly different from the hustle bustle of Dubai Mall that surrounds it.
I walked into Manga Sushi with my little 5 year-old and was given a cheerful Japanese-style welcome from the staff at the open kitchen. We were having a late weekday lunch at around 3 pm, yet the place was buzzing with chop-stick clicking customers.
We were served cute little platters of popcorn with dehydrated pineapple as soon as we settled down at our table. I’ve never had this combination before, and really liked the idea of serving dried fruit with popcorn.
How cute is the menu card? Manga on the menu! Has a nice sound to it, don’t you think?!
Even on the inside, you have Manga comic strips that lead to menu suggestions:
Tempted as I was to try the suggestions above, I went with what my very friendly waitress pointed out and this is what we had:
For our appetizers round, we ordered Manga Sushi’s signature Crab Salad. A toss of shredded crab and cucumber in a spicy mayo dressing might sound pretty simple enough, but I was totally blown away with the presentation. This wee basket is made of edible savory wafer, and even my little one loved it despite it being a tad too spicy for her palate.
For our drinks, I was suggested Manga Sushi’s most ordered mocktail, the Kamikaze, a delightfully refreshing aerated lemonade that takes on the bright blue Smurf-like shade thanks to the addition of non-alcoholic Blue Curacao. This mocktail is the perfect thirst buster for these hot and humid summer months.
For my daughter, I ordered the Kira-icy Strawberry. This is basically a thick on-alcoholic Pina Colada that takes on a pretty pink blush thanks to the addition of strawberries, and is further enhanced with a generous dollop of whipped cream. A very pretty sipper for a little girl don’t you think?! This drink is rather filling, so take caution if you plan to eat more off the menu.
Manga Sushi has a special kid’s menu, but my daughter was demanding Salmon Sashimi. Even our waitress was rather amazed she liked raw fish! What can I say? I am raising a rather refined eater 🙂
The Salmon Sashimi platter comes with 3 beautifully fresh pieces, and this little sashimi monster gobbled these up in no time.
We also tried two of Manga Sushi’s signature rolls. Below is the absolutely stunning Volcano Roll. Towered together to resemble a volcano spitting out multi-coloured Tobiko, these flavourfully spiced sushi rolls feature shredded crab meat, cucumber, sesame seeds, spring onion and a very delicious, fiery Volcano Sauce.
The other roll on my platter was Manga Sushi’s Monster Roll. A snake of sushi rolls coated in crunchy Panako crumbs and topped with Jalapeno slices really does make it look like a fictional monstrous caterpillar of sorts! Yet it is the delightful punch of flavour combinations that makes this roll my favorite. I knew I’d love it from when I read of its contents in the menu. Seared salmon with chili powder, avocado, asparagus and a sweet and spicy mayo sauce?! Absolute decadence. And the Panako crumbs added an unexpected element of crunch which I loved. I highly recommend this monster for sure!
The staff also insisted I tried the Japo Peruvian Steak, and promised it wouldn’t be too much. Given my little one is a very small eater, I was already struggling with my plate of rolls when this bad boy made an appearance!
I like my steaks done medium-rare, and these beautifully sliced pieces of beef were deliciously juicy and cooked to perfection. However, the star on this platter has to be that Peruvian sauce in the corner. It is hot, it is sour, and it also has a mild hit of the Far East thanks to the addition of a special Korean paste. It really added a kick to the steak pieces, and brought the meaty goodness to life.
Ending our epic eatathon at Manga Sushi on a sweet note, I decided to order a bowl of their Matcha Green Tea Ice-Cream. If you’ve been reading my past few posts, you already know how obsessed I am with Matcha (click here if you missed it). This ice-cream did not disappoint, and was absolutely loaded with the characteristically bold, earthy flavor of Matcha.
Little Missy was demanding her current favorite flavor; Cotton Candy Ice-Cream. They don’t even have it on the menu! Yet the staff went out of their way and she got exactly what she asked for.
This is one happy little diner!
Love Sushi? You don’t even have to know who Manga is. This little gem, tucked away in the heart of Dubai Mall (on Level 1 near the Dubai Fountain) is a delightfully modern taste of Japanese cuisine, and do let me know if you like the decor as much as I did!