Located at: Baniyas Road, Deira, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Visited on: 18 Nov, 2018
As Japanese as this place might be, it flies the Sri Lankan flag high – the head chef is from our little island nation, and we have met several chefs here over the years who have also hailed from the motherland. That aside, the actual reason we revisit this place – or at least make a definite stop while doing our rounds at the Radisson Blu Friday brunch buffet – is the fact that their food is pretty good and easy to enjoy. While most of our visits have been for dinner, today we popped over for some lunch.
We were greeted with a complimentary pickled seaweed appetiser with sesame seeds. While I might not have normally picked this off a menu, this cool welcome dish was actually quite delicious. Slightly crunchy, mildly sweet and with a tingle of tangy savoury and spice, we all savoured it to the last bit. Clearly a smart and brilliant choice to welcome their diners.
Before deciding on the mains, we picked out a couple of rolls to order. Ever so often, I have come across sushi rolls that have turned out to be a little too dry – I’m not sure if this is because of long standing time or because of an imbalance of ingredients. But here, the sushi has been on point at pretty much every visit. And I know for a fact that it is freshly prepared as you can see the chefs prepare it at the open sushi counter – even on a public holiday such as this where we were essentially the only customers for most of the afternoon.
Of late, I tend to shy away from ordering California Maki (AED 69) as the quality and freshness of the crab stick and avocado can really mar the whole experience of enjoying it. However, this particular roll was nice and moist and tasted great. Of course, it was helped by the tiny dollop of cream on each piece – fantastic. The Salmon Cream Cheese (AED 47) came second and certainly gave the California roll a run for its money. Definitely the creamiest salmon cream cheese sushi rolls I’ve come across, and delicious too. The thick wad of cream atop the roll was so mildly flavoured to allow the taste of the salmon and avocado to come through, and was perfectly balanced with the bit of cream-mayo combo on top. Good stuff.
Minato had their Business Lunch menu out on the day – a menu of several bento box options. Three of the four of us at the table went with the Shokado Bento (AED 135). This gives the consumer a mixed green salad, three kinds of sashimi and sushi (three each) and two pieces of maki, tempura prawns and vegetables, black cod / salmon / chicken / beef teriyaki, with hot or cold udon or miso soup and vanilla, chocolate or strawberry ice cream to finish with. Quite the mouthful, yes. We all opted for hot miso and salmon teriyaki. I asked if I could have ebi tempura maki in place of the sushi/sashimi/maki option and the steward was kind enough to check with the kitchen – who were kind enough to accommodate my request.
The miso was good, as usual, and the components of the salad were fresh and crunchy with a light dressing to go with it. The salmon was perfectly cooked to a chunky but nearly fall-off-the-skin level and the teriyaki sauce was delicious – great with the sticky rice, as well as to use as an alternative dip for the sushi rolls. The ebi tempura maki, of course, was lovely. Crunchy and full of flavour, with the blob of cream on top adding a touch of velvety texture and extra flavour. The tempura corner of the bento box comprised two prawns and some sliced veggies that included carrot and aubergine. Nice and crisp, great with the dip provided for it. All in all, thoroughly enjoyable and thoroughly filling. Great value for money.
The other bento box at the table was an Unaju Set (AED 155) – again with the same salad, soup and ice cream options and Japanese BBQ eel on a bed of rice with Japanese assorted pickles. I have to say the Shokado Bento was comparatively an eyeful! But this wasn’t any less filling and the BBQ sauce tasted great with the rice. There was a generous serving of eel – not particularly my choice of protein, but tasted good nonetheless, with a lightly crisp skin and the bright and beautiful colour it had taken on from the sauce. Again, good stuff. Of course, my preference would be the Shokado any day.
The home-made ice cream looked great – unfortunately I couldn’t have any due to a rather merciless cold and cough. However, I could see pieces of fruit in the strawberry flavoured ice cream, and I was told that both of them tasted good. Perhaps I shall have my share on our next visit!
Yummy Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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