I’m missing the gloomy grey weather already. Last week was surely the last of the UAE winter, and we made good use of it over the weekend by treating ourselves to a soulfully good pan-Asian dinner. We headed to the newest hotel establishment in Sharjah. Yes, Four Points by Sheraton now has a branch in the heart of Sharjah, right off the busy, bustling King Faisal Road.
We were here to try out the recently launched pan-Asian restaurant Cheeky Chan. Don’t you just love the cheeky name?!
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.
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.
Fancy some sushi with a difference? Head to The Palm Jumeirah’s new-age Japanese foodie destination, Miyabi Sushi & Bento and treat yourself to a whole new array of artisan sushis at a very affordable price range.
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 fondly remember my days as a university student. Blessed with the quirkiest of friends, some of the best times we’ve had together was in the kitchen where we cooked up weird and wonderful creations. My bestie made the meanest, richest cauliflower curry and the secret behind its success was a generous helping of cheddar cheese (yup! Indian spices with cheese!). It took a fairly broadminded palette to digest, and in the here and now, he has nothing to do with the food industry.
The story reads quite differently for Dubai-born Rahul Sajnani. When Rahul left home for the UK to do a management degree, he found his passion for fusion cooking when living with a bunch of culturally diverse flatmates. In the UK, Rahul also developed a taste for sushi and momos, and improved on his chopstick skills. He was therefore quite astonished to find that the humble, student-budget-friendly momo-sushi combo he was having in the UK was more of an upmarket, wallet cringing treat in the UAE.
With a new-found love for fusion cooking and an insatiable desire to reintroduce momos and sushi to the UAE, Rahul created Moshi.
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.
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.
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.
Mochi, Japan’s beloved sweet treat, is a rice cake made of glutinous sticky rice. The cake is traditionally stuffed with a sweetened red-bean paste, and has an entire festival dedicated to its making. Mochitsuki is the Japanese festival where glutinous rice is communally pounded in preparation for making mochis for New Year. Edo Café plays on tradition, and has as many as 15 varieties of the traditional mochi.