“It is our vision to bring finest Japanese bakery and menu items to the capital and expand across the region.” Mr. Mansour Al Sayegh
Great excitement in the anexpatabroad camp last week as the other half and I were invited to not one, but two official venue openings to celebrate and sample a range of their menu offerings. The first review was at Mikado Café, which opened for business last month in the Al Khalidiya area of Abu Dhabi and offers a range of Japanese delicacies, comfort food and baked goods.
As a non fish and meat (obviously) eating vegetarian, I was heavily relying on the other half to consume more than his fair share of the dishes and luckily a) he loves food, b) he loves lots of food and c) he loves Japanese food, a win win on his part you might say! The vast and varied menu offers Japanese cuisine infused by both western and European influences as well as daily freshly baked breads, pastries and desserts.
Let me first set the scene of this delightful new establishment. Decorated in blonde wood, the whole casual dining café is a well lit modern space which is both chic and comfortable with various seating options from booths, standard table and chairs or around the dedicated more authentic marble sushi bar. There is also a specially designed chef’s table area with a private entrance that provides an exclusive setting for guests, a perfect venue to host a private meal or even an intimate celebration with family and friends.
Touches of Japanese decorations such as paper lanterns sit alongside funky chrome and fibre optic lights that all add to the overall ambience. Just inside the entrance sits the bakery section, that also serves as a takeaway area, with a glass counter containing delicious dessert options and shelves filled with a range of bread and baked goods that even native Japanese customers have expressed pure delight at finding here in the UAE.
First off we were served drinks from the wide selection of Iced Teas and Tea Smoothies available (not a licenced establishment). The other half had the spicy Orange and Chilli version that was also infused with lemongrass, mint, palm sugar and Jasmine green tea and we also sampled the Passion Fruit Iced Tea that combined passion fruit, lime and green apple juices and Jasmine Green Tea, my favourite however was the very refreshing and tasty Kiwi version.
We started the meal with one of my faves and something I always order, Edamame beans. Alongside the standard steamed salted option were two others, one spicy and the other one ginger from the hot small plates section of the menu.
The other half was very keen on the Tebasaki which was Japenese style fried chicken wings stuffed with shitake mushrooms. Next up was the Mikado style caeser salad that combined romaine lettuce with tofu croutons drizzled with a tofu dressing.
If you are a sushi lover then Mikado Café is the perfect location for you. A wide range of sushi and sashimi is available including white fish, tuna, yellowtail, snow crab, shrimp, sea urchin, squad and many more. Bento boxes and Chirashi are available daily between 12 noon and 3pm and the large menu also includes Rice and Donburi, Tempura, Nabe and Noodles. Click here to see the full menu.
After the sushi and sashimi selection, we were presented many dishes of chicken, beef, rice and the other half was literally fit to burst! Luckily the next course was a refreshing green tea served in an authentic ‘Tetsubin‘ cast iron Japanese teapot.
Then we entered my area of expertise, dessert! With a sweet tooth (and a waistline that is ever expanding) I was pleased to see a good range of options which is unusual for other East Asian restaurants I have visited. Signature Japanese infused deserts such as the delicious green tea sponge Matcha Roll cake filled with whipped cream and red berries (I can’t tell you how good this was) is available along with many other choices such as Toberlone chocolate mousse filled crepe (on my list to try next time), green tea pannacotta and crème brulée as well as homemade mochi ice creams.
One of the great things that struck me about Mikado Café is unlike other establishments offering this type of cuisine this café caters for a wide clientale offering both Japanese and non-Japanese options. It’s perfect for breakfast, a bite to eat at lunchtime as well as for dinner and will satisfy sushi cravings at anytime of the day. The breakfast menu (served daily between 8am – 11am) looks very tasty and alongside a traditional Japanese breakfast (rice, miso soup, grilled fish, Japanese omelette and pickles) there are items such as waffles, pancakes, crepes, omelettes, French toast and such like that you would associate with more western establishments.
This homegrown concept has been brought to the capital by the Al Sayegh Group and has been well received by local residents, offering a good variety of dishes made with fresh quality ingredients. Head Pastry Chef Angelica Brioschi, Head Baker, Chef Yoshio Nishiyama are in charge of the sweet treats and bakery while Japanese Executive Chef Fabio Nakazato and his team prepare the wide variety of Sushi, Sashimi and Maki. The other half left uncomfortably full, in fact too full to drive home allegedly! We were lucky enough to bring home goody bags filled with a selection of breads including some Shokupan bread. I can thoroughly recommend purchasing one of these huge, white puffy Japanese loaf because it makes the most perfect toast!