Review: Kyo Japanese restaurant at The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah
Does this restaurant at The Pointe get it just right?
We have something of a Goldilocks moment while dining at Kyo Japanese restaurant. It’s our first visit to the contemporary eatery at The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah, and we find ourselves entering via the lounge on the upper level, a dark, sultry space of low-slung couches and leather booths.
When we tell the host that we have a booking for dinner, he guides us down the stairs to the restaurant proper. We’re then given a choice of dining inside or on the fountain-view terrace out front. We jump at the chance for some alfresco action, but retreat indoors once we realise they’re busy testing out the new dancing fountain, and the terrace is covered in a fine, persistent mist that night.
Back inside the restaurant, we’re shown to a socially distant table that seems to be a bit lost at sea, wallowing alone in the middle of the brightly lit room. The hostess, noticing that we’re not too keen on the centre-of-attention setting, asks if we’d like to dine in the lounge instead. So, it’s back up the stairs we go – to the sleek bar area we first entered – where we find a table-and-couch situation that is not too wet, not too bright, but just right.
Things are soon looking up, with a passionfruit and rum cocktail in hand and a promise from our host to deliver some of the restaurant’s signature dishes.
First to hit the table is a dish of sautéed edamame (Dhs25), served with a little dish of umami-rich soy salt to sprinkle. Next, a trio of starters arrive, including an indulgent take on oshizushi (Dhs60), which layers smoked salmon, torched fresh salmon, cream cheese and avocado over a bed of sushi rice.
There’s also a more trad sushi roll, the tempura jumbo shrimp uramaki (Dhs60) with avocado and Japanese mayo – although even this wears a cloak of smoked salmon. They’re both head and shoulders above the wagyu tacos (Dhs70), which are disappointingly bland on our visit.
After a brief pause and a cocktail change – this time a multi-layered affair made with spiced rum and ‘smoke’ water – we’re treated to a little table-side theatrics, courtesy of the wagyu sashimi flambeed in sesame oil (Dhs90). The richness of the marbled meat and nutty oil is cut through with a tangy yuzu dressing, to create the standout dish of the night.
It’s served alongside our other favourite, six oversized gyoza filled with miso-marinated black cod, coriander and lime leaf (Dhs60), dressed in a frothy citrus veloute. Brilliant stuff.
If we had to gripe, it’d be that our host has been a little too generous in his delivery, loading up on the menu’s richest, heaviest dishes. We’re as stuffed as those gyoza by this stage, but the mains are yet to come.
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Of these, the hotate mandarine (Dhs180) is the star. The just-seared scallops are served in their shell on a bed of habanero-spiced potato salad, and then covered in a wispy potato foam.
In contrast, we could have done without the tara no yuan yaki (Dhs185) – there are better black cod dishes to be found in Dubai.
Dessert ends on a high note, however, with a clever combination of molten-centred chocolate fondant with apricot sorbet, raspberries, chocolate soil for texture, and little dabs of salty-sour umeboshi paste (Dhs45).
We’ve found ourselves here on a Wednesday night, when Kyo offers all-you-can-eat sushi for Dhs115. It looks like a cracking deal – with the vast majority of tables tucking into the endless platters. We make a mental note to return for the unlimited sushi shortly – albeit with a serve of that stellar wagyu sashimi and those delicious cod gyoza on the side.
Kyo Japanese restaurant, The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah. Sun to Thu 3pm to midnight, Fri 1pm to midnight, Sat 2pm to midnight. kyorestaurant.com