On the Pass

Pawel Kazanowski

Style and substance: Zuma has ostensibly created its own canon in Japanese cuisine. Where Japan shows restraint; Zuma offers excess. It essentially takes the technique and study associated with Japanese food and splices it with glitz and glamour from the West to rip-roaring success. Ingredients are of unimpeachable quality across the board and the huge team of chefs are some of the most skilled practitioners of Japanese and Asian cookery anywhere in the world.

How many kitchens? Three. These include the main section, where most of the plates are prepared, a sushi counter and a robata grill. The restaurant itself is split over two floors, linked by a sweeping staircase – arguably the most dramatic design feature of the high-style dining room. Earthy brass tones and aged-steel walls contrast beautifully to the geometric Arabic shapes. There is also a terrace for post-prandial drinks and alfresco action.

What to order: The standout dish on the menu – delivering both in terms of theatre and flavour – is the rib eye with wafu sauce and garlic chips. Miso-marinated black cod wrapped in hoba leaf is the darling of Instagram, while the Tsubu-miso gake hinadori no oven yaki – which is a barley-miso fed chicken, oven roasted on cedarwood – is arguably the best example of Eastern technique meeting Western ingredients.

Not just for dinner: As is customary in Dubai, a hugely popular brunch offering is available at weekends. The mid-week business lunch is also lauded as one of the best-value in the city.

Anything to drink? Zuma’s bar has been named The Best Bar in The Middle East & Africa in the past two editions of sister list, The World’s 50 Best Bars. Headed up by Laura Marnich and Jimmy Barratt, the team specialises in fruit-forward drinks with excellent takes on sake-led cocktails.