One of Dubai’s most exciting new night venues, Sake No Hana Dubai in Souk Al Bahar has already become a hotspot for a drink on Thursday and Fridays. It’s not hard to see why: the bar/restaurant set-up with a reception area of low ceilings and dim lighting makes for the perfect place in which to have a conversation and a good drink. There’s also a vibrant lounge area with an on-site DJ who plays hot tunes while a brilliant lighting scheme shines from above creating the ideal scene for dancing.
The ambiance is so vibrant that it is easy to forget that Sake No Hana also serves as a Japanese restaurant. In the reception area is an array of low level tables positioned in typical Japanese style but with accompanying chairs. Beyond the lounge and down a set of stairs is a larger, more open dining area with higher ceilings. Set apart from the busy bar area, this space easily accommodates diners who would like a more subdued meal.
My guest and I were seated in the dining area surrounded by quirky contemporary artworks. We opened our long menu to find four pages worth of sushi made from various grades of tuna, salmon, scallops, prawns and yellowtail and much more. We were impressed. For our appetizers we opted for a Crisp Soft Shell Crab Salad with additions of pomelo and pomegranate, Edamane and Ebi Tempura made with prawn tempura served with tempura sauce. The crab salad had a nice tangy taste from the accompaniments of fruit, which was balanced off nicely by the texture of the crispy crab. The tempura was tasty and certainly in line with what one would expect from the dish. We also ordered a Spicy Salmon Maki and a Crunchy California Maki – both were rich in flavor and consistency.
For our mains we ordered Gindara Mirin with Kanzuri Miso, a grilled black cod served with Japanese spiced miso and seasonal vegetables, and the Tarabagani Crab of grilled Alaskan crab with ponzu butter. For a side dish we opted for Horenso Gomaae, sesame spinach with cassava chips. The cod was an interesting take to the more creamy cod I have become used to, but the accompaniments proved to add a flavorful taste to the dish. The Alaskan Crab seemed a bit too rubbery for our taste even with the ponzu butter. This was made up for by the sesame spinach that added a savory side note.
With top-notch Japanese joints such as Zuma and Okku already widely popular and both of which have received a steady stream of awards in recent years, Sake No Hana has lot to live up to. However, if it positions itself, as it clearly already has, as a hip spot for music and drinks – then its steady following is sure to increase. The food one can order is a great accompaniment and makes a casual night out just a bit richer.
Sake No Hana Dubai is located in Souk Al Bahar. Tel: +971 44327808 www.sakenohana.ae