The day I was dreading had finally arrived. It was the fourth and final day of a much needed holiday and I was sad to leave. BW and I decided to chill out, relax and spend the day leisurely. Seeing as it was our last day and he was sad to see us go, FIL booked us a table at one of the best restaurants in Dubai for an awesome farewell dinner – Zuma. Zuma is a Japanese restaurant that offers fresh sushi, robata (Japanese charcoal grilling) style dishes, the most creative desserts and much, much more.
As you enter the building, you take an elevator up in which you arrive at the reception area where you are greeted by the ever so welcoming hostesses. On one side, you have a huge bar area, and on the other side, a flight of stairs lead you down to the sophisticated restaurant where they have an open robata and sushi kitchen. The people are young, trendy and beautiful; the surroundings are chic; and me, well I was excited to be here!
Edamame Fried with Chilli, Ginger and Garlic
Edamame doused in a fiery chilli sauce. Even those these were spicy, I couldn’t help but to eat them all up until I was reminded of the amount of food that was coming our way.
Asparagus and Avocado Salad
A fresh spring salad topped with sesame seeds, a minimal amount of citrus based ponzu sauce, creamy avocado chunks and warm asparagus slices. The salad was light and a refreshing way to start the meal.
Steamed Spinach with Sesame Sauce
A whole mountain of wilted spinach mixed in with a rich sesame sauce. Spinach is a slightly bitter leafy vegetable which means whatever way it is cooked, you will either like it or you don’t. I usually love spinach however I wasn’t a fan of Zuma’s version and found that it bland even when mixed in with all the sesame sauce.
Yellowtail, green chilli relish, ponzu and pickled garlic
So, one of my favourite all time sushi is Hamachi – the meaty yellowtail tuna just gets me every time. Nice, thick slices of yellowtail fish topped with a crunchy chilli relish, a drizzle of ponzu and a fried slice of garlic. Because FIL knows how much I love yellowtail, he made sure he fed me almost half the plate of these babies!
Prawn and Black Cod Gyoza
Doughy parcels stuffed with sweet black cod shreds and chunks of prawn. These delicious and sticky parcels were slightly pan fried on one side so that they were firm and did not fall apart.
Rock Shrimp Tempura
Small and yummy plump shrimp that were deep fried in a tempura batter, sprinkled with wasabi powder and served with a pot of spicy mayonnaise to dunk the little fellas into. These were so good and addictive that it was easy to just pop five of them in your mouth in one go!
Sashimi Platter – Akami, Hamachi and Sake
Thick slices of raw salmon, yellowtail (oh yes!) and tuna arrived lying on top of a pile of shaved ice. I tried the salmon which was so fresh, cold and heavenly that I didn’t have to dip it in the soy sauce provided.
Spicy Tuna, Ebi and California Maki
Maki is a sushi roll in which the rice is on the outside and cushions the fish. We ordered three kinds. The first and the best was the spicy tuna roll. The tuna was mixed in with a green chilli miso, wrapped with rice and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The California roll consists of shredded crab mixed with mayonnaise and avocado flesh, wrapped with rice and dipped in red tobiko (flying fish roe). This unfortunately looked pretty but didn’t have the wow factor in comparison to the other two. The final one was the Ebi roll, which is crispy prawn tempura with a sliver of avocado, wrapped in rice, and dipped in crispy panko (Japanese bread crumbs). This would be a delicious alternative if you don’t fancy eating raw fish!
This white fish had been marinated with miso, had a delectably sweet glaze and came wrapped in a hoba leaf. The fish was cooked so well that it was moist and easily flaked away.
Spicy Beef Tenderloin with Sesame, Red Chilli and Sweet Soy
A chunky beef tenderloin that was doused in a sweet soy sauce infused with red chillies and sesame seeds, and topped with a soft spring onion. The beef was cooked to a juicy medium pink and cut into delicious little pieces of heaven!
Slices of eggplant were grilled so that they became soft and topped with barley miso. They were tender that they melted away instantly.
Chilean Sea Bass
Contrary to its name, this fish is not actually a sea bass and it doesn’t necessarily originate from Chile. Regardless, wherever this fish came from, it was gigantic. An absolute monster in size as you can tell from the picture. This huge fish was topped with a mass of salad, and drizzled in a green chilli ginger sauce.
So I’ve had both good and bad experiences with lamb ribs; the majority has been bad but these sounded so yummy on the menu that I thought I would risk it and order them. These were really, really good. Fat lamb ribs that were cooked in such a way that the rib had a crunchy outer layer but the inside meat and fat were so tender that they just fell apart as soon as you took a bite. The glaze that they dipped the lamb in was sweet plum mixed in with sesame and wasn’t too overpowering. I enjoyed these so much that I rolled my sleeves up, grabbed them with my hand, and got down and dirty – no forks and knives for me!
Everyone on the table was in literal food comatose. No one spoke, no one moved and then you had me, asking for the dessert menu. Needless to say everyone was shocked but there was no way I was leaving Dubai without having dessert on my last night and after one of the best meals I have had!
The name of this dish absolutely escapes me but it was a cute strawberry and yoghurt infused doughnut topped with strawberry slices and served with a berry sorbet. The doughnut was nice, milky and fluffy, and the sorbet was rich.
Green Tea and Banana Cake with Peanut Toffee Sauce
The moist banana cake had a layer of green tea paste on the bottom, drizzled in sweet toffee, placed in a sea of peanut toffee sauce and surrounded by crushed peanuts. It was served warm and tasted absolutely scrumptious with creamy coconut ice cream. For those of you who aren’t keen on the green tea and banana combination, not to worry, the green tea taste is almost non-existent!
After I finished off the desserts, I instantly regretted not wearing my stretchy pants. I was full beyond belief but in a very comfortable way. The total bill amounted to 2682AED which is approximately £447 so around £64 each. It was definitely pricey but Zuma really was a great restaurant. The service was outstanding, the atmosphere was cool and the place to be on a Friday night, and the food was phenomenal. This restaurant has literally sky rocketed to one of the top five restaurants I have ever eaten at and the fact that it isn’t halal in London really makes me sad.
I couldn’t believe it – my short trip to Dubai had come to an end. Despite being attacked like crazy by the mosquitos, I really had an amazing time. The food, the company, the weather – I just didn’t want to leave. Usually my trip to Dubai consists of burgers, this time I went for something a little bit different, and there’s still so much ground to cover. Already looking forward to the next trip!!!
Ratings out of 10
Food: A super duper high 9
Total average score: 9
Child Friendly: N