Posted by: englishdubai | August 8, 2009


Back in March I visited the Taste of Dubai food festival, one of the stalls there that I really liked was Zuma. Since then it has gone onto win the Dubai Japanese restaurant of the year as voted Timeout. I wanted to know what the fuss was all about and based on the recommendation of a friend I booked a table this weekend and was excited about the promise of some excellent culinary delights.

The first thing to say about Zuma in Dubai which is located in the finance DIFC district is that is has a distinctive “London” feel to it. Especially on a work night the gents in their pinstripes and quaffed hair wouldn’t be out of place in the square mile.

The bar and lounge are situated upstairs allowing for the restaurant to have a more relaxed feel and the open kitchen gives eager diners something to focus on while waiting for their treats.

The first thing I wanted to do was to work out what Sake to drink. There is certainly no shortage of choice with an extensive menu of Sake’s and wines. In the end, I settled for a carafe of Sawanoi – I choose it for the description that went something along the lines of “stored in large tanks buried under a lot of ancient snow” – that is all it had to say, I was sold.

The menu certainly takes some studying and the South African waitress was full of good advice and helped assemble a menu for me and my dining partner.

First up we shared some edamae as well as the “ika no kari kari age” which was the calamari with green chilli and lime that I liked so much at the Taste of Dubai. The waitress also recommended the “age watarigani” or soft shell crab with wasabi mayonnaise.  I remember having soft shell crab years ago in KL and liking it.  I was not disappointed, it was a crispy on the outside with delicious meaty white crab on the inside. A little weird to be eating the shell but an excellent dish. Here it is:


For the next course we had the Chef’s selection of Sashimi. It was predictably excellent especially with the freshly grated wasabi. The presentation was also outstanding, served on crushed ice with a couple of mini-icebergs setting it off nicely:

For the main course we opted for more seafood accompanied by asparagus and wild garlic mushrooms. The “ebi no sumibiyaki yuzu kosho fuumi” or jumbo tiger prawn with yuzu pepper was excellent. Still firm and expertly cooked and presented in a way that made it a snap to eat with chopsticks:

Then we had to have what surely must be the signature dish at Zuma. The “gindara no saikyo miso yaki” or miso marinated black cod wrapped in hoba leaf is simply sensational. It flakes beautifully and when put it in ones mouths melts with an irresistible burst of flavor that makes you produce noises like “yummm” or “oh my” or even “mmmmmh mmmmmh mmmmmh” . It really is that good and no trip to Zuma is complete without ordering this dish:


Zuma really is that good, though you are going to pay a healthy amount for food this good. Personally, I thought it was worth every dirham ($150-$200 a head is a good budget to include drinks).

A booking is essential as it gets very busy, in fact after the meal we tried to get a drink in the bar but it was just too busy. We we were full and content so we headed to somewhere else to enjoy a quiet drink and talk about just how good that food was.

Overall – 9.5/10 – A really treat to go out and eat there, this is the place to go if your boss is in town and he/she is paying. I knock half a mark off as there is no AC in the lift and when it is 46c outside it is necessary.


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