Love Japanese cuisine? I’ve got the perfect Friday brunch suggestion for you, complete with a fantabulous view of the majestic Dubai Fountain and the Burj Khalifa. With a red carpet welcome right at the doorstep and artistic interiors that will awaken the Instagrammer in you, Katana Dubai is a hidden dining gem in Address Downton, Dubai.

Every Friday, Katana Dubai hosts its Red Sun Brunch from 12 noon to 4 pm where diners get served a 25-course tour of three popular styles of Japanese cooking.

For the past month, my early morning breakfast ritual has had a wee beauty tweak. I start my mornings unscrewing a tiny gold-topped bottle, and sip down its contents daintily. It tastes tangy, sweet and peachy all at once.

This wee drink is not your regular health tonic, but promises be the next generation in skincare. The key ingredient is collagen, the building block for youthful skin, hair and nails. Many expensive creams and potions claim the benefits of collagen, but ingesting it into the system is believed to deliver faster, more permanent results.

 

Last weekend I had the pleasure of dining in the artfully psychedelic Izakaya Japanese restaurant in JW Marriott Marquis, Dubai. Apart from its groovy interiors and the ever-popular Wasabi Girl (who serves up freshly grated Wasabi at the shout of her name, has bright green hair she credits to Wasabi-eating, and even has an Instagram page of her own @izakayawasabigirl), I was quite enchanted with their Sake Cart.

We met the beautiful Kampai, who hosts the Sake Cart at Izakaya. Apart from giving us tasters of some of the world’s finest sakes, she was brimming with knowledge on this age-old Japanese rice wine, and I had to make notes to share these gems with you…

Calling all sushi lovers living or working in the Media City vicinity… I have great news for you! The very popular Japanese eatery Sushi Express (located in Cluster R, JLT) has opened a compact little cafe-style branch in the ground floor of Gloria Hotel, Media City Dubai.

Compact with Japanese-style sparse utilitarian furnishings allowing diners to sit in rows with a view of the chef in action, Sushi Cafe Express is the ideal stopover for a quick healthful lunch on a busy workday.

I visited the cafe on a weeknight with the family, and we had the place to ourselves. Despite the size of the place, the menu is brimming with enticing options. 

A week ago, my sister posted this absolutely stunning image of the cherry blossom trees, in full bloom at the International Pacific University in my hometown of Palmerston North, New Zealand.

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The annual Sakura Festival is one of the most anticipated events on the calendars of the Japanese migrant community of New Zealand. Being Down Under, the cherry blossoms come to bloom there in early September, but in Japan it takes place between March and May.

Sakura¬†is Japanese for ‘cherry blossom’, and it is quite a coincidence that a week later, I find myself in a Japanese restaurant by the same name.

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Located in the very central Crowne Plaza Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road, Sakura takes the Japanese culinary experience to another level with its dedicated Chashitsu room, an interactive sushi-making counter and a very fired-up lineup of authentic Teppanyaki barbecues, cooked and served right at the table with a great deal of pomp and pizzazz. 

I’ve always been experimental with my teas, and have quite an assortment to boast of in my kitchen cabinet. By far, the little tin I have been reaching out to most often has been my prized stash of Japanese Matcha Green Tea.

This highly coveted powdered tea is far more superior than your average cup of green tea.

“One glass of matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of nutritional value and antioxidant content.” –¬†Tealand¬†website.

Given its ‘superfood’ status, I was rather shocked at how hard it was to get my hands on some 100% pure Matcha powder in Dubai. I tried every nutrition shop in Dubai Mall, and was finally guided to a little stall on the basement level called Tealand.

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Tealand has all the possible kinds of teas you can think of, and horray! They had Matcha!

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.

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Wagamama, the British pan-Asian restaurant chain, has recently opened its fourth branch in Dubai. The newest addition is located in Palm Jumeirah’s underground mall, Golden Mile Galleria and we had the pleasure of being invited there for a review this week.

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Styled with the looks of a modern Japanese ramen bar, the funky open-spaced dining area of the restaurant is invitingly casual and perfect for a long-winded meal with the family.

One of the biggest perks linked with blogging about food is the sheer diversity of invites I receive to try out different types of cuisines. However, apart from the eminent upward shift on the scales, food blogging also has another major downside. Here I am ready to tell you all about our fantastic evening out at Chez Sushi, and every little detail and drool-worthy click is making me exceptionally hungry and eager to go back… right now, now!

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Chez Sushi (or ‘in the home of’ sushi in French) is a very well-known chain among the sushi-munching dwellers of Dubai, and being a sushi lover myself, I was super excited when I got an invite to their Al Wasl branch last week.