Few food-types slug it out for top spot like Japanese in Dubai. This latest effort, which translates as ‘cheers’, will need to improve if it is to challenge the leaders.

Kanpai is a dimly lit restaurant with a separate lounge bar.

Four crab cakes with a crispy crumb, dipped in a chilli sauce, were nice enough. Firm prawns in a buttery wasabi sauce were deliciously moresish. A couple of eel nigiri were pleasantly smoky, and both the spicy prawn and button mushroom hari kiri soup and the bushido soup, a dense, gloopy blend of sweet corn and crab meat, were spot on.

Meanwhile two half frozen slices of tuna sashimi were, well, half frozen. Mains were not so good either. The lamb chops tasted of the charcoal grill, as promised, but they had spent about ten minutes too long on there and were tough and grey.

Sides of crunchy greens in garlic and soy and fried rice passed muster, but wok fried tiger prawns, mussels, scallops and squid in a weak sambal chilli sauce was disappointingly bland.

Sweet ‘Japanese’ crepes filled with red beans and washed down with a pot of flower tea was one of the highlights of our meal.

Souk Al Bahar, Downtown, Dubai
Tel: (04) 4419262. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall.
daily noon to 4pm and 7pm to 11pm.