Dubai boasts an overwhelming number of Japanese restaurants offering delicious food. So, we went ahead and tried two of the most buzzing go-to destinations for Japanese cuisine: Okku and TOMO.
Merging delightful dishes with an elegant interior, Okku is the perfect place to hang out with friends for a weekend cap, a special occasion or just a simple catch up. It’s buzzing with modern yet dim and ambient lights, sleek decors, and the chill-out music playing in the background makes you relax, allowing far cosier venue to chat and eat.
But for us, we went there to indulge in a culinary delight, and so we did. It was practically a long menu – a long list of amazing take on traditional Japanese food – that greeted us.
Overwhelming, at first, but we took on the challenge of tasting the decadent array of dishes. Kick starting our dinner was a bowl of tender edamame beans flavoured with truffle and teriyaki sauce, sticks of asparagus and a bowl of green bean tempura with yuzy-truffle aioli. Edamame is a staple Japanese starter we always munch from everywhere we can get it, and must say that this Okku version is one of the best in the city.
Moving on to salad, we devoured a huge serving of Lobster Salad which was basically a big bowl of greens, avocado, cucumber, red onion and tomato, drizzled with wafu-soy vinaigrette, and topped with generous shreds of lobster that greeted us.
At Okku, we discovered, the courses are divided into small plates and large plates. It was almost a case of gluttony, we admit, but we had to taste a bit of everything. But we forgot our inhibitions in eating a long list of courses when the delicate portion of pinkish red salmon sashimi came to our table. The slices of meaty fish were spanking fresh – just the way they should be, particularly when eaten raw. And the shredded ginger and sweet yuzu-soy sauce provided a welcome clarity on the palate.
Still on the small plates, we were surprised with the impeccable presentation and delightful taste of ‘O’ Style Avocado Volcano that was worth noting for order in our next visit. The blend of avocado, enoki and button mushroom with asparagus in flaming half-shell backed with spicy mayonnaise kicked our taste buds without overpowering, and also pushed the buttons of our cameras for the Instagram shot. After such exciting gastronomy experience on the flaming ‘volcano’, the next dish won us again with Hamachi Truffle grilled rice cake that served us yellowtail tartar with right amount of spicy mayonnaise, masago, soy black truffle on a grilled rice cake.
The fun continued on when the large plates were served. The Yuzu-Saikyo miso marinated Atlantic black cod was just as refreshing, and filling especially when taken with Shiso steamed rice. The other large plate dish was equally successful: the Robata grilled chilli-miso chicken draped with garlic scape, Asian leaves and spring onion.
Finally, the four-hour dinner almost came to a close with desserts being served. It was a combination of the mouthwatering chocolate fondant, passion fruit and ginger crème brulee, chocolate and sesame crisp, and a cup of comforting Jasmine flower tea.
The Okku experience was synonymous to any Dubai experience – opulent, lavish and wonderful. Its menu we savoured included a long list of names, some familiar while others were complete never heard of. Yet we enjoyed every bite, each of which was taking us to gastronomic heaven, resulting for us to silently wish that every meal we’d partake was as good as those Japanese delights.