I visited Armani/Hashi with plans to film my very first vlog. These plans, however, were thwarted by a very A-list celebrity who decided to visit the same restaurant that very same night. Great for vlogging? Nope. Great for star-spotting? Check.
I lived in Japan for 6 months long ago, and Japanese is still one of my most favourite cuisines. But, arguably, good quality Japanese food is just not that easy to come by in Dubai. So when you’re sick of eating cheap conveyor belt sushi or overcooked salmon from a plastic bento box and want to splash out on a special Japanese meal, head to Armani/Hashi.
Armani/Hashi is the fine dining Japanese restaurant located on the concourse level of the Armani Hotel Dubai, which occupies the first 39 floors of the world’s most iconic building, the Burj Khalifa. Though the restaurant doesn’t look traditionally Japanese (it’s decked out from head to toe in Armani furniture and decor), what you will find is the freshest fish sourced from the optimal locations (such as sea urchin from Hokkaido, tuna from Spain, and salmon from Scotland), many authentic ingredients flown in directly from Japan (sudachi, anyone?), and an ebullient Korean head chef who’s supremely passionate about his food.
What I love about the restaurants in the Armani Hotel is that the staff always seem to love what they do. Armani/Hashi’s head chef has been with the restaurant since pre-launch, and when he tells me that a lot of his clientele is repeat customers, it’s not hard to know why. The night we dined, he was at the restaurant on his day off, and he was still flitting from table to table happily chatting away to us and his other customers.
As with all of the Armani Hotel restaurants, there’s a large open terrace where you can enjoy your drinks, meal, or shisha with full views of The Dubai Fountain. If you require extra privacy (say, if you happen to be an A-list celeb), they have private outdoor areas sectioned off with discreet foliage features. Though the restaurant is open from 7pm to 11pm for dinner, happy hour conveniently starts from 5pm so you can relax first on the terrace with a sake or Asahi whilst taking in the Burj Lake views.
What’s on the menu:
Sashimi platter – five varieties and 15 pieces of sashimi – salmon, tuna, yellowtail, scallop and seabass – served on ice. The fish is so fresh that the flavours really shine through. Just one problem – 15 pieces weren’t quite enough!
Taki kari kari tempura – crunchy octopus with spicy creamy sauce. I do love octopus anyway, though I must admit, sometimes looking at a shiny purple octopus arm on my plate, suckers and all, makes me squeamish. This was my first time eating octopus prepared like this and you know what? I really liked it! It’s a lot more accessible and you could almost mistake it for chicken, so if you don’t think you like octopus, this is the time to give it another try.
Miso mero robatayaki – Miso Chilean seabass with Japanese plum. This meaty fish is high in fat which makes it oh-so-moist and buttery. This fish is so similar to black cod that I actually mistook it for black cod! The miso sauce is so simple and subtle and allows the fish to take centre stage. Ok, fine, they say Chilean seabass is not necessarily the most sustainable option, so if you prefer, you can also order black cod, which I’m sure is equally delicious.
Tajima Wagyu robatayaki – Wagyu rib eye grade 7 with fois gras, maitake mushrooms and sansho miso. Wagyu is my most favourite meat ever. There’s nothing I love more than salivating over a perfectly marbled A5 Grade 12 piece of beef. Apparently the Tajima bloodline produces some of the highest quality, most marbled meats and they are not wrong. But beware! This is an extremely rich dish paired with the fois gras and thick miso. Personally, I prefer my Wagyu less adorned so I can really appreciate the silky, melt-in-your-mouth texture and unadulterated Wagyu flavour, but if you’re after a truly rich and decadent main course with all the bells and whistles, then this is for you.
Deza moriawase – Chef’s special dessert platter is a sharing platter overflowing with mochi ice cream, a macaron, fruit, sorbet, a mini cake, matcha jelly and pannacotta. All of the individual desserts are actually quite light so it’s perfect for capping off a rich and flavourful meal. The cheesecake mochi is particularly good.
Verdict: For when you really, really, really want to be back in Japan, but will settle for splashing out on a special Japanese meal instead.
Note to self: Leave the video camera at home.
Tel: 04 888 3666
Chow for now!