With a table next to the open-concept kitchen, we had a front-row seat with a view to where all the magic happened.

It’s no exaggeration when I say that Zuma is quite possibly one of the finest dining establishments in Dubai. But, don’t take my word for it. The restaurant was recently recognised as the Best Japanese Restaurant (as well as Best Business Lunch) at the coveted TimeOut Dubai Restaurant Awards 2015.

Zuma is a Japanese restaurant located at the swank Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC). The izakaya style of dining encourages sharing plates of food, and I, for one, could not have been happier. The venue is uber classy and modern, without the added pretentiousness one would expect from a resto of this calibre. From the hostesses that greet you, to the serving staff that wait on you, everyone was extremely polite and friendly.

My dining partners were Zuma regulars, so I was more than happy for them to order for the table. And they did not disappoint.

We started off with the spicy edamame, tossed in a delicious chilli-garlic paste that very much reminded me of Goan chorizo sausages. This was probably why I couldn’t get enough of it. We moved on to a selection of sashimi, and once again, I was floored by the freshness of the fish.

But the party in my mouth really kicked off when I tasted the sliced yellowtail with chilli relish, ponzu and pickled garlic. I just didn’t know what to do with myself after that. The mix of flavours was explosive and like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. While my mind told me to pace myself for the goodness that was still to come, my mouth had an agenda of its own.

Delicious spicy garlic and chili edamame appetizer

Pleasantly surprised at the freshness of the sashimi selection

Sliced yellowtail with green chilli relish, ponzu and pickled garlic
Miso marinated black cod wrapped in hoba leaf

But, I’m glad I did pace myself because it was this…this beautiful piece of miso marinated black cod…that was the true pièce de résistance.

I’ve had plenty of miso black cod in my life, but I’ve never ever tasted anything quite like this before. A lightly-seared glaze complemented the cod’s buttery texture making for a melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

I’m convinced this is what foodgasms are made of, and I could have very easily devoured another one of these. Easily.

Our food journey continued with some protein in the form of beef and lamb – both tender, flavourful and incredibly delicious. And just when I thought we were almost done, up came our final main in the form of a Chilean sea bass – soft, creamy and delightful. At this point, I had to loosen up my belt a few notches.

Spicy beef tenderloin with sesame, red chilli and sweet soy

Korean chilli marinated lamb chops with pickled baby onion and myoga

Grilled chilean seabass with green chilli ginger dressing and cress salad
Green tea and banana cake with coconut ice cream and toffee sauce

We rounded off the dinner by sharing our final dish of the evening – an incredible green tea and banana cake dessert that was absolutely divine. Sweet, tart, soft, cool – it was everything a dessert should be and then some. The scoop of coconut ice cream was the clincher, pairing nicely with the toffee sauce and crushed peanuts.

Zuma Dubai left me wanting more – not in a weird I didn’t eat enough kind of way, but more the feeling that I barely touched the surface with its eclectic menu offerings. And while another trip to Dubai is not on the cards in the near future, I am excited that there are Zuma restaurants a little closer to home in New York and Miami…and rest assured, the dining adventure will continue.


Location: Gate Village 06, DIFC, Dubai

Web: http://www.zumarestaurant.com/