New brunches
A great, high-end bespoke Japanese dining experience

The venue: Armani’s signature Japanese is an exercise in modernistic minimalism, a bright, metallic venue that feels clean and classy. The culinary curious will enjoy the large, circular open-plan kitchen, where you can watch as meats are grilled and noodles fried by a team of pros. To the left of the entrance there’s a small bar, while the restaurant’s glass walls offer tranquil views over the Armani Hotel’s terrace and gardens. Brave the heat and dine outside and you’ll be rewarded with some views that shed fresh light on the Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa.

The food: Smartly, Hashi sticks to what it’s good at: quality, traditional Japanese foods, with hints of fusion that never overpower the concept. By Dubai standards, there’s a relatively small selection of dishes on offer, but that means there’s not a weak link in the chain; everything we tried was of a very high quality. The sushi is among some of the best we’ve tasted this side of Tokyo, while the live-grilled meats and seafood are sublime. If you leave space for the small dessert room, you won’t be disappointed either.

The drinks: Brunchers are greeted with an inventive Japanese welcome drink, and there’s very drinkable free-flowing grape throughout. Teas and coffees are also expertly made.

The atmosphere and crowd: The atmosphere is more that of a lunch deal at a high-end restaurant than a ‘Dubai brunch’: by 4pm the sparse crowd of families, couples and hotel guests have cleared out entirely. Expect to dine among a mix of affluent folk here on business, luxury tourists and connoisseurs of Japanese cuisine.

The entertainment:
There’s a lounge DJ playing pleasant lounge house – although on our visit some unfortunate technical problems meant the tunes kept cutting out. We imagine this embarrassment was a one-off.

Highs and lows: Sushi lovers are unlikely to be disappointed, and the high is simply the quality of cuisine on offer. However, one large niggle is that while staff members outweighed diners by several times during our visit, finding anyone that speaks English felt exasperatingly impossible at times. And being seated at a table stained with dirt is also rather disappointing. Fine tuning is required.
Dhs350 (with soft drinks), Dhs450 (with grape, hops and Japanese premium beverages). Fri noon-4pm. Armani Hotel Dubai, Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3444).