Can this new Japanese spot reach the heights of its ambitious menu?

With its high ceilings, chic monochrome palette and focused staff, Kyo appears rather formal. Once you’re in though, the new Palm Jumeirah restaurant has a much more casual feel (and price range).

The meal began on a high note: the tuna sashimi (Dhs45) was pink and tender. This virtuous choice was immediately followed by the indulgent salmon oshizushi (Dhs50): layers of salmon and rice mixed with avocado, chives and Philadelphia cream cheese. Authentic? Unlikely. Delicious? Absolutely.

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The ebi no gyoza (Dhs65) is a must-try, with each crispy-shelled dumpling stuffed with a delicious mix of prawn, spring onion and mushrooms. Skip the gyuniki no kunsei (Dhs55) though. The tea smoked beef wrapped around mushrooms, avocado and veggies disappointingly lacked flavour.

Kyo salmon

While black cod is as commonplace in a Japanese restaurant as chopsticks and wasabi, Kyo’s version is very different. Called Tara Agemono (Dhs110), it wasn’t miso-marinated as one would expect. Instead Kyo’s marinated cod is fried, with a tasty crispy skin, firm white flesh and a healthy kick of spice.

The Nikujaga (Dhs150), a grass-fed Angus beef tenderloin served with an organic vegetable soup, was hit and miss – the beef was cooked well, but the soup was underwhelming. We would have preferred a more substantial side dish – something starchy, creamy or both.

One tip: order the Balsamic Virgin Mary mocktail (Dhs30) at the beginning of your meal (Kyo has no licence and no plans to get one). The tangy, spicy, umami flavours really complement the food well.

Kyo interior

Kyo’s sweet dishes aren’t quite as good as its savoury ones. The dessert gyoza (Dhs45) has a lovely sweet, nutty chocolate filling but the rubbery wrapper ruins it. The ginger tiramisu (Dhs45) whose fruity garnish made it feel more like a trifle than a tiramisu was much better. The poached pear with strudel and ginger ice cream (Dhs45) was good too, with a nice balance of sweetness and spice.

Overall, Kyo doesn’t always reach the heights of its ambitious menu, but when it does (as with the gyoza and the black cod), it’s seriously impressive.

Golden Mile, Building 1, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, Mon to Thur 7pm to 11pm, Fri to Sun 7pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 5575182. Taxi: Golden Mile Palm Jumeirah.

Atmosphere: Casual
Rating: B
Price: $$

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Images: Supplied