The Dubai Diaries: Atisuto @ Al Ghurair Centre

Located at: Ground Floor, Al Ghurair Centre, Al Rigga Road, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Visited on: 14 & 16 Oct, 2019

Atisuto is a cosy and casual Japanese restaurant that we enjoy visiting from time to time. The unique décor gives the place a rather welcoming yet street-vibe feel. This review is a combination of two visits made within three days and hence might come across as a bit lengthy – in comparison to my usual posts.

Our first visit was for lunch, and we decided to go with their Bento Box (AED 56). This comes with a miso soup, starter choices of karaage chicken, mixed / vegetable tempura, chicken gyoza or chicken spring roll, salad choices of Tokyo salad, kani, kaiso or Japanese coleslaw, main choices of salmon / beef / chicken teriyaki, lava yasai or torikatsu chicken, and side choices of steamed / fried rice, French fries or edamame. You also have the option of adding on any mocktail for AED 18, and any dessert for AED 20.

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Bento box – with kani salad, chicken gyoza, salmon teriyaki and fried rice

For both boxes that we ordered, we went with kani salad, salmon teriyaki main and fried rice. The kani was simple yet so uplifting – crab sticks, gherkin, black sesame seeds and a light dressing, wonderful in its combination of textures and provided a refreshing element to the box. The salmon teriyaki was a bit minimal in quantity (I guess one could understand the technicality of this as there is a flat rate for every combination of choices you pick – and salmon usually comes at a bit of a price). It was also slightly charred, but the teriyaki sauce helped to make it a more pleasant experience. The rice was wonderful – light, sticky and not overpoweringly flavoured, so much so that it was easy to finish. A perfect accompaniment to the rest of the dish.

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Same, with spring rolls instead of gyoza

Our starters varied – with one of us went with chicken spring roll, and the other with chicken gyoza. They both came with their own respective dips and turned out to be good choices, but I think the gyoza trumped the rolls by a small margin. The spring rolls were crisp and made for enjoyable finger food – the sweet chilli dip was great too. However, the gyoza was delicious, light, was packed with flavour and, frankly, didn’t really require any sauce. Atisuto’s miso soup was pretty good too, pleasantly seasoned,with a notable serving of seaweed and tofu.

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Miso soup

Garden Kessaku – muddled lime leaves, beetroot, chamomile tea, lemon juice, sugar syrup and passionfruit purée (otherwise AED 26) was our choice of add-on mocktail. This one caught me by surprise for how easy and thirst quenching it was. I guess I was expecting something a bit harsher and much sweeter. But this was perfect. The beetroot, ideally, played a rather subtle role while the passionfruit gave it a mild tangy pang and the sugar syrup had been added only in moderation. Lovely.

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Garden Kessaku

We finished lunch off with their Milk Cake – Atisuto’s famous milk-soaked cake (AED 18). This looked soothingly neat and cute, and tasted equally good. The cake definitely did not taste as sweet as it looked, which was great as it allowed you to enjoy the smooth sweetness of the milk that soaked into it from the bottom (and a little more on your spoon!). Overall, a happy dessert.

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Milk Cake

What worked perfectly to wash all of this down was their Kukicha tea (AED 24 for a pot). Light, with barely a touch of the smokiness of sencha tea, this really seemed to get digestion kick-started such that we felt light and comfortable at the end of the meal.

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Kukicha

The second visit was for dinner. This time around, we ordered some starters to begin with. The first was a portion of Dynamite Prawns – crispy prawns tossed in tongarashi dynamite sauce on a bed of apple glazed salad (AED 45). This was SO good. The prawns were crunchy, the sauce was scrumptious in a subtle way, and the greens were absolutely fresh. I could have finished the whole thing – that’s how good it was.

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Dynamite Prawns

The second was a portion of Chicken Gyoza – handcrafted chicken dumplings with spicy gyoza sauce, steamed or pan fried (AED 29). We asked for steamed gyoza. Of course, we had previously got a taste of this with the bento box, and these were just as delicious, seasoned to perfection. The sauce was far from spicy – by our standards – but was a great accompaniment for the dumplings.

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Chicken Gyoza

We decided to go with some sushi and ordered an Uramaki Puratta – two pieces each of California roll, prawn tempura, salmon avocado and tuna volcano (AED59). This puratta (shared platter) is ideal to be shared by two. My personal favourite was the prawn tempura, of course (ebi tempura any day!), while I also found the salmon avocado to be smooth and quite tasty with the sauce that was on it. In addition, we ordered a portion of Volcano Uramaki – deep fried tuna, tanuki, tobiko and spring onion with spicy mayo (AED 43). This wasn’t all that spicy either and I felt like the oil from the deep frying took away from fresh element that is characteristic of sushi.

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Uramaki Puratta
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Volcano Uramaki

We also ordered a portion of Spicy Lemongrass Prawns – delicately grilled tiger prawns topped with their signature Tokyo kick sautée mix (AED 79). This was quite nice, with a bit of lemon seasoning and a wonderful crunch and freshness coming from the lemongrass-based mix on top. The portion came with a side of their signature fried rice.

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Spicy Lemongrass Prawns

Finally, there was a half portion of Wantonmen – homemade chicken wontons, egg noodles, soy ramen broth with a soft-boiled egg and spring onions (AED 30; AED 52 for a full portion). The soy flavour was definitely evident in the ramen broth – in a good way, and we already knew that the wontons were going to be good. Overall, it was a pretty decent bowl of ramen.

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Wantonmen

Yummy Rating: 4.0 / 5.0

Special offers: Emirates Platinum card holders get 10% taken off the total bill.

 

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