Review: Katsuya has reopened in Madinat Jumeirah
The word “katsu” means “victory” – so will a new Dubai location prove to be a winner for this world-famous Japanese restaurant?
After closing its outpost in The Dubai Mall last year, Katsuya – the global restaurant brand and brainchild of LA-based master sushi chef Katsuya Uechi – has reopened its doors at the Jumeirah Al Naseem hotel.
The new space conceived by celebrated French designer Philippe Starck is possibly even more spectacular than its predecessor. If you removed the roof and observed the restaurant from above, it’s supposed to resemble a bento box – all straight lines and compartments. This means there are plenty of cosy nooks and crannies for diners to choose from, while an outdoor terrace offers views over the resort’s stunning turtle lagoon.
Be warned – upon entering, the entire wait staff will greet you with a loud chorus of irasshaimase. We thought the Japanese welcome sounded forced, and certainly became grating after hearing it for the fifth time. Otherwise, we were impressed by the slick, friendly service.
The menu definitely leans more towards fusion than traditional Japanese, but you’ll be rewarded for keeping an open mind. The mellow green Edamame Hummus (Dhs55), a dish exclusive to the Dubai restaurant, was a stroke of genius.
You can’t go to Katsuya and not order sushi, and our waiter recommended The Hollywood (Dhs75) – a tongue-in-cheek name for the popular California roll. Loaded with shrimp tempura and topped with spicy albacore, it was the sushi equivalent of a kung-fu film – completely over-the-top, and probably quite culturally inaccurate, but still, very enjoyable.
Wagyu lovers are also spoiled for choice, and we went for the Wagyu Tenderloin Yakitori (Dhs275). The luscious slithers of meat, masterfully grilled using the robata technique, were gorgeously rich and buttery.
One disappointment was the Hibachi Shrimp (Dhs85), served on a small grill at the table. We had to make full use of the accompanying dipping sauces, as the dish lacked that special smoky “barbecue” flavour.
When it comes to dessert, we can see why the Brownie Toban (Dhs59) is a crowdpleaser – a tempting mess of fudgey brownie, walnuts, toasted marshmellow, chocolate mochi and vanilla ice cream. The almost criminally rich Double Chocolate Lava Cake (Dhs55), was also worth the guilt-factor.
By this point, a purist would be sobbing into their matcha… but for the mainstream dining crowd, Katsuya is a fun and approachable introduction to Japanese cuisine.
Katsuya by Starck, Jumeirah Al Naseem, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, open daily, midday to 1am. Tel: (04) 419 0676. Taxi: Jumeirah Al Naseem. katsuyarestaurant.com