Review: 99 Sushi, Downtown Dubai
We’ve got 99 problems but finding good sushi ain’t one…
99 Sushi lands in Dubai with strong pedigree, with six Spanish venues and a popular outpost in Abu Dhabi. For its Dubai foray, 99 Sushi has settled into a sleek space at the Address Downtown, overlooking Burj Khalifa Lake.
With its seductive colour palette of red, black and gold, a backlit marble bar, and a sushi counter backdropped by greenery, it gives good aesthetics, but on our visit the dining room is empty, having been shunned in favour of the terrace.
We can soon see why. Alfresco tables have Burj front-row seats, and a thicket of greenery providing seclusion from the promenade. This may be Japan by way of Spain, but the scent of shisha, balmy weather and those postcard views place us firmly in Dubai.
With its Spanish bloodline, you have to expect a few twists to the Japanese menu. But where other eateries can deviate too far from tradition, 99 Sushi imbues its dishes with just the right amount of flair.
First up, there’s spicy tuna tartare (Dhs180) tossed in a light kimchi sauce, with wakame, a shiso leaf and spirals of daikon providing freshness, and tendril-like fries delivering crunch.
Next comes the okonomiyaki (Dhs99), with a crisp tortilla standing in for the traditional pancake. It’s topped with a sweet, soy-based tare sauce and a fan of raw tuna, punctuated by red onion, jalapeno and olive. There’s a lot going on, but the overall effect is light and well balanced.
From the sushi counter, we choose the 99 wagyu sliders (Dhs50) and dragonfly maki (Dhs90). Filled with tempura prawn and spicy crab, and topped with avocado and black tobiko, the maki is a standout.
The sliders, however, are a tad too gimmicky for us. Two foie-infused meatballs balance on footballs of sushi rice, garnished with shoestring fries and tomato puree. With so many clean, bright-flavoured dishes preceding them, the relative heft of these two-bite morsels throws us off kilter.
We’re back in our sweet spot for a main of black cod glazed with nutty, umami-rich red miso. The fillet is perfectly gratinated: charred at the edges, and flaking apart with a gentle nudge.
For dessert, black sesame ice-cream mochi is almost too delicate, whereas the yuzu cheesecake is rich and indulgent, comprising two butter cookies piped with yuzu cream, a scoop of cheesy kunefa ice cream, and a crunchy spun-sugar dome. It’s definitely a dish to share.
With its switched-on service and just the right amount of edge to the menu, 99 Sushi has what it takes to play with the big boys in Dubai. We may have 99 problems right now, but finding high-end sushi ain’t one…
99 Sushi Brunch
From what we’ve seen, 99 Sushi certainly has what it takes to play with the big boys in town. The Dhs149 omakase business lunch is sure to be a hit with the suited-and-booted crowd, while the Zeitaku Friday Brunch is positioning itself as one of Dubai’s most decadent.
Its name translates as ‘luxury’ – and it aims to live up to the mantle. Prices for this epic 11-course brunch start at Dhs399 for the soft package, Dhs599 with sparkling, and Dhs999 for the ultra-premium package with sake and Champagne.
99 Sushi, The Address Downtown, Downtown Dubai, Sat to Wed noon to 3.30pm, 7pm to 11.30pm; Thu noon to 3.30pm, 7.30pm to midnight; Fri 1pm to 4pm, 7.30pm to midnight. Tel: (0)4 547 2241. 99sushibar.com/en/99-sushi-bar-dubai/