High tea-brunch fusion at upmarket Japanese outlet
Time Out Dubai staff
What’s on offer? Nobu’s ‘High Brunch’, a take on the classic ‘high tea’, is overall a very high-brow affair. Small bites of classic dishes are served on frosted glass slides held together in a decadent flame-shaped three-tiered stand in five courses. Sushi, sashimi, strips of expertly prepared beef and tomato miso soup follows edamame, tacos with spicy tuna miso and a mushroom salad. The sushi overall lacked the wow factor we'd been expecting given Nobu’s reputation worldwide, but the sashimi, beef and Matsuhisa special sauces that came served with it more than made up for it. Be sure to keep room for dessert – the peanut butter as well as the tiramisu-flavoured ice cream mochis are nothing less than outstanding.
The venue? Tucked away past Atlantis’ luxury shopping court lies Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa and Robert De Niro’s Japanese concept, Nobu. The restaurant oozes class, from the white lettering on a black slate sign at the entrance to the suited staff standing guard as you walk through the door. Upon entrance, a show of greetings takes place as staff call ‘irasshaimase’ ('welcome' in Japanese), prompting the chefs at the sushi counter preparing your feast to chime in as well, welcoming you to your seats. The dark ambience of the restaurant and artistically twisted rope give it a luxurious feel, while the orange, red and rustic brown colour scheme, combined with dim spotlighting, transports you to a side of the Orient swathed in sophistication. It’s romantic, too, and the restaurant’s strict no-kids-before-6pm policy adds to the adult atmosphere.
What sort of crowd turn out? The upmarket and adult nature of the restaurant and its brunch attracts those celebrating adult occasions, such as engagements, anniversaries and possibly the odd birthday. But it’s the perfect place for a quiet brunch. It’s also popular among local Emiratis, who come both in couples and with the family. The restaurant is spacious and doesn’t fill to capacity, so there’s always plenty of space to accommodate everyone.
Room for improvement? Staff could be a little more attentive to glasses. Unfortunately we struggled on occasion to attract their attention for top-ups of the free-flowing premium bubbly.
Standout dish? By far the standout dish was the black cod drizzled in a sticky, honey-sweet saikyo miso sauce. One small square simply isn’t enough!
In one sentence… A decadent affair in wonderfully sophisticated surroundings. Dhs320 including soft drinks, Dhs490 including bubbly and a tasting of Japanese rice-based beverages. Noon-4pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 0760).