If you were to judge a restaurant based purely on appearances, Ramusake would be up there with Dubai’s best. This JBR gem adopts its own brand of cool, with a ceiling made of a giant wooden abacus, and walls covered in handpainted ocean murals in the style of Japanese artist Hokusai.
Add paper lanterns and bare, dark wooden furniture, and it conjures up 1920s Tokyo, but with a soundtrack of old-school soul.
Happily the food lives up to the surroundings: beautifully presented Japanese dishes with a modern twist. The cheese and truffle gyoza (Dhs60) was an unusual but delicious combination of rich flavours.
For something a bit more traditional, try the fried nikuman, a Japanese flour bun similar to a Chinese baozi, stuffed with smoky, sticky beef and served with a sweet dipping sauce. The fried pepper squid with jalapeño dip (Dhs50) was crispy without being greasy, and had just enough of a kick – expect to fight over who gets the last piece.
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For a touch of theatrics, the chef brought a bowl to the table containing the catch of the day – a massive prawn so fresh that we feared it might scuttle on to the table. It was then expertly cooked robata style, in the traditional Japanese oven.
The grilled miso black cod (Dhs200), also cooked in the robata, is as good as any interpretation of the dish in Dubai: a perfect combo of sweet and umami flavours, and firm without being overcooked. It was served with hijiki (seaweed) and apple salad, which added a nice crunch and interesting flavours. The black angus short ribs with a honey-soy glaze (Dhs200), inspired a serious case of food envy. The seven-hour marination process meant that the meat simply fell off the bone.
The desserts aren’t quite as wow-worthy as the savoury dishes, but they make a nice sweet ending to the meal. Try the dessert platter (Dhs120) to get the chef’s choice of his favourite desserts that day.
This evening’s included the decadent kinako doughnuts (Dhs50) with jam and Chantilly cream, as well as the creamy yet refreshing coconut panna cotta (Dhs50) with mango pudding and vanilla French toast.
Doubletree By Hilton, The Walk, JBR, Dubai, daily 7pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 5595300. Taxi: Doubletree By Hilton JBR. ramusake.ae