Zeitaku brunch at 99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant

Review: Flawless Japanese dishes and stunning service in a glamorous venue

DETAILS: Dhs399 (soft drinks), Dhs499 (sparkling grape), Dhs599 (bubbly). Sat 1pm-sunset. The Galleria, Al Maryah Island (02 672 3333).

The thing with surprises is, if they don’t go well, it can be embarrassing for everyone involved. Thankfully there are no such problems at the Zeitaku brunch, which offers course after course of stunning Japanese food, but as far as we’re aware, does not have a menu. We don’t see one, anyway. But, having been wowed by 99 Sushi Bar when it opened in 2017 (so much so it was named Best Newcomer at that year’s Time Out Abu Dhabi Restaurant Awards), we aren’t worried in the slightest.

There are three packages, soft drinks (including mocktails – it seems you can ask them to make you anything), house beverages (with sparkling grape) and a premium package (which gets you French bubbly and Japanese rice beverages).

There’s the option to take a drink on the smart terrace outside before the dishes start arriving, but we decide to get eating straight away.

The dining room, all gold and black, is as glamorous as they get, but the atmosphere is anything but stiff and formal. On our visit it’s not full, but there’s a nice buzz and the personable service goes a long way to making the afternoon a very nice experience indeed.

Drinks are brought swiftly and before we know it food is arriving. One of the restaurant’s USPs is that the spotlight is shone on each dish that comes to the table, with an explanation of ingredients, flavours and tastes for each one. If that sounds a little tiresome, it is anything but. We love the extra insight into these intricate plates of food.

First up is a tuna hosomaki roll and edamame. An understated start, but a tasty one. The next course is where things really pick up, however. A Japanese ‘pizza’ of tuna on a corn tortilla with anchovy mayo is sublime, and the fatty tuna and smoked beef bacon ‘taco’ is just as good. We’ve never had anything like either of them.

Nigiris are also mind-blowing, especially the scorched salmon one. Butterfish with truffle is a close second.

Spicy tuna tartare and the warm maki with salmon and bonito flakes are the other highlights of the small plates.

A main of skirt steak in a sticky galangal sauce is delicious, too. Two refreshing mochi complete the meal.

If there is a niggle it’s that there’s a lot of fatty tuna throughout the dishes (though it’s delicious), but other than that, there’s really nothing but brilliance on show here.

The bottom line
A relaxed, high-end dining experience.

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