Dining experience: Akira Back, W Dubai – The Palm

Dining experience: Akira Back, W Dubai – The Palm - The Restaurant Co. Stories - Restaurants

Led by celebrity chef Akira Back, this impressive restaurant serves up skillfully prepared Japanese cuisine on Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. Housed within the W Dubai hotel, this impressive restaurant is led by celebrity chef Akira Back, who is known for his playful Japanese fare infused with Korean essence. Chef Back trained under some of the world’s most celebrated Japanese chefs, including Nobu Matsuhisa and Masaharu Morimoto (both of whom have opened Dubai-based restaurants – Nobu at Atlantis The Palm, and the now closed Morimoto restaurant). Located on the hotel’s fifth floor, Akira Back makes an impression from the get-go with its striking, brightly lit vortex entrance, which leads into the bar & lounge area – a great spot for pre- or post-dinner drinks, much like the sweeping outdoor terrace that offers glittering city skyline views. The venue boasts a very dramatic feel with dark, metal interiors, upbeat music that’s played at just the right volume, abstract lighting and modern, plush seating – all of which is topped off by gorgeous views over the Palm through floor-to-ceiling windows. Images of clouds are also projected on to steel plates on the ceiling to create an illusion of sky-high dining. The open-plan dining room is neighboured by a counter-top robata grill area, see-in kitchen and sushi bar. On the menu The menu at Akira Back is plentiful and best tackled sharing-style. To begin, the famed Akira Back raw tuna pizza lives up to the hype and packs a tasty punch. The tender grilled octopus with chipotle miso and salsa verde is also a winning option with a bit of a spicy kick. There’s wide-ranging maki, sushi and sashimi on offer to order individually, but we’d recommend opting for one of the combo platters if you’re visiting as a group – or if you’re hungry! From the robata grill, we shared two pieces of beautifully prepared lamb chops, marinated in smoked jalapeno, plus charred baby corn with black garlic butter and a heavy sprinkling of smoked Parmesan, which were cooked with a nice crunch left to them and oozing buttery flavours. We shared two dishes for mains, which weren’t overly big in size, so you may need an extra dish or a side if you’re feeling peckish by this point. The wagyu rib cap don was bursting with flavour from the truffle jus, topped with foie gras and the rice was cooked just right –definitely a hearty dish offering strong, well-rounded flavours. For a lighter option, the Josper grilled salmon was moist and served with perfectly crisp skin, accompanied by garlic spinach and nori rice cracker for texture. For dessert, if you’re a chocolate lover the chocolate in a cup is a must – it’s an incredibly comforting option offering no-frills, but heaps of deliciousness created with melted Nutella chocolate, banana foam and vanilla bean ice cream. The details The team at Akira Back is attentive and well versed on the menu. During our visit, they were always on hand to ensure our table was catered to. Akira Back is an up-beat spot serving skillfully prepared, fresh and delicious food. Ideal for visiting for dinner and drinks with as small group of friends. For more information, call +971 4 245 5555 or e-mail [email protected].

Dining experience: A Capella, The Pointe, Dubai

Dining experience: A Capella, The Pointe, Dubai - The Restaurant Co. Stories - Restaurants

Since the world’s largest fountain opened at Palm Jumeirah’s The Pointe in October 2020, the destination has become a hot spot for dining. Here’s why you should give A Capella a try. A Cappella is a casual hangout-style lounge and global tapas bar located at Palm Jumeirah’s lifestyle destination, The Pointe. With uninterrupted views over the water and Atlantis The Palm, Dubai, A Capella is situated on the second, licensed floor of the destination. Offering both indoor and outdoor seating, the venue is super casual, cool and welcoming. While the weather’s cool enough, you can enjoy table seating outdoors on the large terrace area, or alternatively grab a seat at the quirky bar inside which overlooks an open kitchen, giving the place a very Spanish-esque feel – who doesn’t love being able to watch chefs firsthand working their magic? The atmosphere is upbeat, welcoming and fun, with the music increasing slightly as the night goes on – making it an all-round great spot for hanging out with friends, to enjoy affordably priced quality food and beverage throughout the night. On the menu A Capella is brought to us by the guys behind two of the city’s most sought-after modern Indian restaurants, Tresind and Carnival by Tresind. If you’re a fan of these concepts, you’ll know that perfected flavours blended with fun and interactive creativity run through the veins of everything produced by this team – and A Capella is no different. The passport-style menu at A Capella is divided into various countries, each of which showcase a handful of dishes that the respective countries are known for. Although the menu covers a decent variety of cuisines, I like that the menu selection isn’t overbearing – it’s always a concern when kitchens try to pull too much off, but A Capella ensures the selection is kept small, and quality high. All dishes on the menu are tapas portions, so it’s a great place to come when you fancy nibbling away at a variant of flavours. The pani puri chapmenoise gets us off to a great start – little crispy bites of chickpea and potato filled with vibrant tamarind water.   Moving to the USA, we devoured the mini cheese burger sliders served in beautifully soft brioche-like buns, topped with mushroom ketchup and stick fries, which provided a great crunchy texture. This dish was fantastic paired with the mac and cheese served with lobster and truffle, which was absolutely delicious and indulgent. One of my favourite dishes of the night was the tandoori lamb chops marinated in shichimi soy and served with a miso dip. The lamb was tender and packed with flavour – both my dining partner and I contemplated ordering a second portion they were that good. Another dish we equally enjoyed was the de-shelled mud crab malay curry – a perfectly blended mixture of spices and beautiful creamy flavours, which we were sure to mop up with paratha and steamed rice. To finish, I couldn’t resist the mention of sticky toffee pudding from the UK’s section of the menu. Prepared with a twist on the classic, A Capella’s pudding is made using dates, served with banana ice cream and topped with salted caramel popcorn. The details A Capella offers fantastic value for money, with most dishes averaging around Dhs30 per portion. We were also really impressed with the beverage prices – it’s certainly an ideal spot for meeting a group of friends for a catch-up without having to worry about how much the bill is going to come to at the end of the night. For more information, call 04-5896788.

Dining experience: Mina Brasserie, Four Seasons DIFC

Dining experience: Mina Brasserie, Four Seasons DIFC - The Restaurant Co. Stories - Restaurants

A visit to Mina Brasserie in Dubai promises a classy yet fun affair. Located in the culinary hot spot of DIFC, MINA Brasserie has gone from strength to strength under the culinary direction of famed American chef Michael Mina since its opening early 2018. During our visit on a Friday evening, it was clear to see that MINA is one of DIFC’s firm favourites, with not a seat to spare past 8.30pm – so be sure to make a reservation if you plan on visiting. The beautifully designed modern brasserie features both indoor and outdoor seating on the covered terrace, where a live band plays during the evening, ensuring the vibe is alive and upbeat. Seats on the terrace book up first, we’re told, and I quickly understand why as the scene is beautiful – romantic tear-drop pendant lights hang from the ceiling, lush greenery surrounds the venue and centerpiece trees make the room feel cosy. It’s a beautiful ambiance. As the evening goes on, the vibe becomes livelier, with the band hopping from table to table to get the party started – it’s a really fun, sophisticated and inviting place to be. On the menu The menu at MINA boasts a delightful selection of modern European dishes that showcase seasonal fish, seafood, and meat, all of which are hearty and of a fine dining standard. Highlights to start include the oak-grilled octopus, cooked tenderly and served with flavour-bursting black garlic, tomato five ways and a crispy onion ring. The tuna tartare is equally as impressive, fresh and generously chopped, served with sesame-habanero oil, garlic and mint. For main, the wagyu fillet was cooked to medium rare perfection, served with an indulgent side of macaroni & cheese. For something a little lighter, the Dover sole is a fantastic option, served with a caviar-caper sauce and asparagus. We’d highly recommend getting a side of crispy Brussel sprouts for your table – the soy, honey-glazed sprouts were absolutely divine, and our table polished the bowl off without hesitation. A perfect dessert for sharing of Baked Alaska with fresh raspberries and mango purée offered a fruity, refreshing end to the dining experience. The details MINA Brasserie is a gorgeous restaurant offering a very high standard of food, in a classy yet fun atmosphere. It’s a perfect spot for a date night with your other half, or a venue to celebrate an occasion at with a small group of close friends or family, over fantastic food and beverages into the earlier hours. For more information, call 04-5060100 or visit minabrasserie.com.