Brought to us by the family of Il Borro Tuscan Bistro and Alici…

Turtle Lagoon continues to solidify its status as a premium restaurant hotspot with recent additions Beefbar and Mayabay. The latter opened in late May and is the third Dubai concept by restaurant group Orange Hospitality, joining Il Borro Tuscan Bistro and Alici. Veering away from the Italian cuisine that the group is known for, Mayabay comes imported from Monaco, offering primarily Thai and Japanese cuisine with some neighbouring Asian influences also in the mix.

The venue was previously occupied by Katsuya, although you’d never be able to tell – it’s undergone a complete redesign. Currently only open for dinner, we arrive on a busy Sunday evening and are sat directly under a live DJ that plays on the mezzanine level. A large open kitchen adjoins the front and back sections of the restaurant, where plush red chairs sit around wooden tables under glitzy chandeliers or more abstract light fixtures.

To call the hardback book sitting on the table a menu would be an understatement – this is a 100+ page guide to pan-Asian cuisine. Choosing from it is a little overwhelming but seeing not just descriptions for dishes but images too certainly helped us to make some informed decisions.

We ordered tuna sashimi (Dhs105) – seven slices of delicately seared tuna carefully glazed in smoked soy sauce to give them a tasty pang of flavour. The beef tataki (Dhs80), also sliced into seven (not ideal for hungry couples), was tender with some intense marbling and a wafer of crunchy garlic on each piece.

If you’re going to try just one of the many sushi options on offer, make it the ebi maki (Dhs60). It features delicately battered shrimp tempura, which is topped with thinly sliced avocado and mango. This roll offers a balanced ratio of savoury to sweet and soft to crunchy that keeps us reaching back for more.

Another glance at the menu and we’re lost again, landing on an old Dubai favourite – the miso black cod (Dhs185). Served in a leaf with a drizzle of honey, it’s a tasty but meaty fish, lacking the buttery melt-in-the-mouth texture we’d hoped for. The prawn pad Thai (Dhs125) with a generous portion of traditional flat noodles, large curly prawns and a layer of crunch provided by chopped peanuts and bean sprouts. It’s authentic and enjoyable, but doesn’t wow.

Desserts are an adventure, with a Dhs70 cloud of candy floss on the menu. We play it safe and opt for the chocolate souffle (Dhs75). The chocolate is organic and rich with a high cocoa content, ideal for those with less of a sweet tooth. Paired with it is a vanilla bean ice cream, and the combination of hot and cold melts together perfectly.

While the atmosphere and setting are already hitting the mark, we’re looking forward to seeing how the menu develops and refines as time goes on. For now, guests can expect a fun evening with plenty of dishes to experience.

Mayabay, Turtle Lagoon, Jumeirah Al Naseem, daily 7pm to 3am. Tel: (0)4 275 2500.

Images: Provided