What’s it like: Tucked away in a corner of the souq, the restaurant isn’t the easiest to find. But when you do find it, it’s like an Alice in wonderland experience, as the doors open up to reveal a cavernous space including a lounge area, walking through which takes you to the restaurant. The stylishly contemporary and minimalist décor, with Ikea-style light wood furniture, is brightened up with accents of Japanese kitsch. Sushi lovers can enjoy plenty of options here, but being in the mood to try something different, my dining partner and I chose the lobster tempura coated in wasabi mayonnaise (from the lounge menu), and a crispy soft shell crab salad with pomelo and pomegranate, served on a bed of leafy greens to share. Any ambitions of healthy eating went out the window as we polished off the deep fried goodness of the seafood in minutes, washed down by a delicious sake cocktail. For mains, the black cod with spiced miso and seasonal vegetables was a no-brainer – black cod is, after all, the litmus test when it comes to contemporary Japanese restaurants in Dubai. And, this one didn’t disappoint – the silky fish literally melting in the mouth, amidst a miso-led explosion of flavours. The succulent grilled wagyu, served in bite-sized cubes with radish ponzu sauce and sautéed wild mushrooms, while a nice enough dish in its own right, sadly paled in comparison. We didn’t think we’d have room for dessert, but the jasmine-infused chocolate mousse served with an über-chocolatey ice cream that we shared, somehow managed to get consumed almost completely, it was that good. A fresh, new alternative to the Japanese lounge scene that is so popular in Dubai, Sake no hana has lots of potential, if you can look past the minor teething issues with service it seems to be experiencing.
If you want to go: Approximate price for dinner for two is Dhs600, without drinks. Call 04-4327808.
Best for: Fun night out with friends
– Sudeshna Ghosh