Dubai – recently named ‘the world’s most cosmopolitan city’ – undoubtedly boasts one of its most colourful and diverse restaurant scenes. Fusions of international cuisines sweep its landscape, and the talkabouthospitality team were more than intrigued to try WAKAME – a concept which explores the tastes of Asia, and resides in Dubai. Boasting Asian fusion dishes with French influences, from the mind of impressive Jamaican-born Executive Chef Lloyd Roberts (of past Vong New York and Nobu fame), the menu is full of variety and innovation.
Located at the Sofitel in bustling Downtown Dubai, in close enough proximity for visitors to readily enjoy the splendors of iconic neighbors the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, the restaurant is relatively new to the city’s renowned social scene and is starting to make quite the name for itself as one of its top Asian restaurants. We attended a bloggers event where we had the opportunity to sample various dishes from the extensive menu.
Whilst set in a contemporary setting with sleek finishings, a dedicated bar and resident DJ, WAKAME explores the traditions of Asia. The restaurant looks as good as the food tastes, designed by South African based Samantha Mulbahuer. She previously told Catering News ME when discussing how she conceptualized the impressive décor about her focus on mixing the “modern with the old-fashioned” and on seafood in the design (“the walls are textured with fish scales” and “the central dining area lighting resembles upturned fishing baskets”).
Chef Lloyd Roberts has created an Asian inspired menu with French flavours that is varied and caters to vegetarians, meat and seafood lovers. Everything from sushi to dim sum to pad thai represent different parts of Asia from Japan to China to Thailand, whilst international fusion dishes include ‘Grilled Australian Ribeye Beef’ and ‘Stir Fried Canadian Lobster’. The specialty cocktails and mocktails on offer are also varied – with innovative ingredients including Wakame’s own lemongrass soda and raspberry liqueur.
Our personal favourite dishes were the ‘Specialty Maki Firecracker Roses’ (salmon rose, chopped spicy salmon, tempura crumb) – one of the most popular items on the menu – alongside the ‘Fresh Bluefin Tuna Carpaccio’ (crispy capers, pomegranate reduction and yuzu-soy): spine-tingling good! Overall, the menu is an impressive mixture – hence why we decided we must speak to Chef Lloyd Roberts personally for his recommendations…
The culmination of the tasting menu was the dessert. The Crème Brulee was divine and the chef included our ‘talkabouthospitality’ blog name in chocolate font to make it feel even more special. This attention to detail truly sums up the restaurant as a whole – it’s all about the guest and your experience.
Here are 10 ‘must try’ dishes from WAKAME Dubai, as recommended by Executive Chef Lloyd Roberts:
- Cook/ Raw Blackmore Wagyu Beef Tacos – who doesn’t love a good taco, these are my new favourite tacos from our specials menu. These tacos have so much character to them, flavour, texture.
- Green Papaya & Mango Salad – The perfect summer dish from streets of Thailand, its light and refreshing bursting with so much flavour, fresh mint, basil, coriander, ripe mango the combination of sweet & spicy making you want to eat more and more.
- Truffle Edamame Mushroom Broth – one of my favourite dish from our Dim Sum section, mixture of edamame, black truffle, mint, coriander in a hint of heat and a ginger & shitake mushroom broth.
- Crispy Lobster Tail Maki – if you are looking or texture & flavour from a maki roll, then try this one on or size, our deconstruction Crispy Lobster Tail Maki roll is must try, our homemade spicy Aioli. Here we give you the chance to put together your maki.
- Chilled Lobster & Somen Noodle – a true summer favourite from Japan. To beat the summer heat, we have created a traditional Japanese noodle dish with a western twist, chilled somen noodle & chilled Canadian Lobster, black summer truffle yuzu vinaigrette.
- Crispy Japanese Eggplant & Creamy Burrata – if you love burrata a good salad then this a must try with our twist on a classic Italian dish. Crispy Japanese Eggplant, creamy burrata, cress salad and white truffle yuzu dressing.
- Crispy Chicken Karaage Yuzu Aioli & Ponzu Salsa – Japanese southern style fried chicken, here is our version of a Southern Style favourite. Marinated chicken thigh, ginger, soy, spring onion. Lots of flavour, texture, crispy, soft, spicy.
- Exotic Mushroom – Classic French Mushroom dish. For this dish, we went all Asian with the mushroom, shiitake, shimeji, eryngii, enoki to give more flavour, we add a creamy black truffle vinaigrette with crispy taro root.
- Marinated Glacier 51 – if you love a good saikyo miso marinated black cod, then you will love our signature Glacier 51 AKA Chilean Seabass dish. Marinated in ginger, soy sauce, jalapeno. We marinate it for two days and it is roasted on our robata grill.
- Blackmore Wagyu Striploin Grade 9 – Our Signature Blackmore Wagyu Striploin is my favourite cut of meat. This is the best cut of meat outside of Japan. Here at Wakame we do this cut of Beef justice by finishing off with our Truffle Black Pepper Teriyaki Sauce.
Find out more about the extensive food and drink options available at Wakame Dubai here: http://wakame.ae/
Pictured: Throughout Ramadan, Wakame Dubai is offering an Iftar with a twist – modern Asian cuisine with an Arabic touch.