Dubai is not short of Asian-fusion restaurants, but when we hear that Namu – billed as a “Japanese/Korean culture clash” – is now in town, we’re excited and intrigued.
With more established branches in both Koh Samui and Seoul, this Namu is set high up in the new W Dubai, where floor-to-ceiling windows provide a bird’s eye view of the city; albeit one that will be considerably nicer once the canal is completed.
As it is, the twinkling lights stretching out ahead still make for a picturesque backdrop to dinner. The décor is dark and Namu is moodily lit, with plush purples and velvet chairs lending an upmarket, yet relaxed, vibe. Namu aims to showcase the two cuisines “competing with and complementing” each other. We don’t see much of a culinary clash, which arguably is a good thing, but there is an extensive menu packed full of well-thought out dishes and unusual ingredients that pique our interest. The menu is divided into sections including “fire” (grills) and “ice” (sashimi).
We opt for a salmon and avocado maki roll, which is delicately flavoured with a hint of wasabi and Granny Smith apple. A shrimp tempura is juicy and not at all greasy, while the chicken yaki tori, smothered in a sticky, sweet sauce, is stand out.
Dessert throws us some tough choices – we’d happily try it all, should our wallets and waistlines allow – but we settle on the chocolate mochi. Rich and indulgent, this is the perfect pudding with which to end the meal.
When we visit, Namu is extremely quiet, and therefore lacking in atmosphere. This is not wholly unexpected, given the hotel is still so new, but the absence of diners doesn’t detract too much from the experience, which is saved by the excellent food.
The Bill (for two) 1x ebi tempura Dhs90 1x yaki tori Dhs95 1x bulgogi mandoo Dhs75 1x sake maki Dhs45 1x mochi Dhs75 1x large water Dhs35 Total (including service) Dhs415
The Bottom Line Flavoursome food, but the venue so far lacks an atmosphere.