“During my time in Japan I fell in love with the cuisine, culture, the food – the whole package.” Rainer Becker
What do you do when you receive an invitation to celebrate the first anniversary of the swankiest Japanese restaurant, lounge and bar in the capital? Why you accept of course, throw on your best black attire (for its glamour and slimming properties), dig out some fabulous heels add a bit of lippy (for confidence) and it’s all systems go.
It seems like only yesterday that the chic hotspot that is Zuma Abu Dhabi opened its doors at Sowwah Square on Al Maryah Island, but surprisingly they have already celebrated their first milestone last week, Jeez time sure flies here in my expat bubble! Since it opened to rave reviews in March last year, Zuma has carved out a niche in the capital as the place to see and be seen and regularly attracts the capital’s glitterati. Last week in true Zuma style, the anniversary was marked with a fabulous cocktail party, which myself, fellow bloggers and media were lucky enough to attend.
The event took place in the classy bar and alongside a range of luscious cocktails we indulged in an array of delicious sharing platters showcasing the exquisite menu and were extremely well looked after by manager Ilir Caushi and his excellent team. What’s not to love at Zuma to be honest! From the moment you enter via the above ground cubed entrance and descend the illuminated stairs to the dimmer atmospheric bar and restaurant below, you are indulging in an experience that has been successfully replicated around the globe. The drinks, the food, the service and the overall vibe is amazing at this trendy Japanese fusion restaurant, it’s cool and relaxed yet elegant and stylish all at the same time.
A resident female DJ adds to the overall ambience playing unobtrusive music from the large open bar area where the bar tenders and mixologists create the Japanese inspired cocktails, for the record the Zumacoloda is my new fave but I am still partial to the Mandarin Cosmo in case you were wondering. The centralised well-stocked bar, decorated with vintage Japanese bottles, was as always a hive of activity and is flanked on one side by the restaurant’s extensive glass wine cellar and surrounded by high cocktail tables, where we gathered in a roped off area for the party. Expanses of exposed rough cut Thai stone, glass and polished wood give the bar an opulent feel of grandeur and the dining area affords a fabulous waterfront view and houses an open fronted show kitchen.
The experience follows the japanese izakaya style of dining where food is served to share, a very popular concept here in the UAE, which creates both an informal and social occasion. Dish after dish of fish, meat and a fantastic choice of vegetarian options were served to us and I’m happy to report that myself and a fellow guest were very well catered for with copious amounts of veggie dishes. From an old favourite of salted Edamame Beans to Asparagus with wafu sauce and sesame (totokudai no garlic fuumi), a selection of Vegetable Tempura, a spinach dish and vegetarian parcels, we were extremely full. There were lots of oohs and aahs around our table as the miso marinated black cod wrapped in hoba leaf (gindara no saikyo miso yaki), thinly sliced seabass with yuzu (suzuki no osashimi) and the spicy beef tenderloin with sesame, red chilli and sweet soy (gyuhire sumibiyaki karami sauce zuke) were all delivered and devoured in record time, along with a selection of other Zuma classics as well as sushi and sashimi.
On to dessert and a popular food blogger put her reputation on the line raving about the Green Tea and Banana cake served with coconut ice cream and toffee sauce and she was not exaggerating, it was absolutely delicious. We were also served the signature Zuma emblazoned Chocolate fondant and the tasty Green Chilli Marinated Pineapple and joined by executive Sous Chef Marco Fico. Alongside its signature dishes, Zuma is also well-known for its impressive ice cubes. Oversized ice balls imprinted with the restaurant’s name are carved fresh to order from a mammoth ice block at the bar and fill the tumblers to ensure that drinks are cold from start to finish, as well as looking spectacular.
Zuma Abu Dhabi is part of the renowned and iconic contemporary Japanese restaurant chain, the invention of chef Rainer Becker. The Zuma empire now has nine venues in cities across three continents around the globe in London, Hong Kong, Miami, Istanbul, Bangkok, Dubai, Datca Peninsula and most recently New York and courts high-end clientele that enjoy good food and drinks. Zuma, popular in Dubai for several years (voted 77th best restaurant in the world) has successfully made an impression on the Abu Dhabi dining and nightlife scene and along with its undoubted popularity, it has already racked up some impressive awards including ‘Best Newcomer’ at the What’s On Awards 2014 and ‘Best Fine Dining’ from Ahlan! Abu Dhabi Awards 2014.
So whether you are having an important business lunch (Ebisu lunch menu and even Ebisu Express are available), after work drinks, weekend cocktails, a celebratory dinner or just want a different family friendly Friday Brunch, Zuma offers it in a sophisticated and contemporary setting. Friday Brunch showcases the wide-ranging Japanese menu offering all the usual mouth-watering dishes from live stations as well as a la carte options that use the freshest and quality ingredients, available in a choice of three packages.
I absolutely love Zuma from its Japanese inspired cocktails, from savoury through to sweet dishes with their intense flavours and fantastic presentation are all real winners, not forgetting its vibe and outstanding service. You can see why it’s so popular here in the UAE and although it may be considered high-end you certainly get an experience to remember. So Happy Anniversary Zuma Abu Dhabi, I raise a Zumacoloda to your success to date and long may it continue.
PS – I will be back for brunch very soon 😉
ZUMA ABU DHABI
Location: Sowwah Square, Al Maryah Island
Opening Hours: Restaurant Lunch (Sun – Thurs 12:00 – 15:00, Sat 12:00 – 15:30) Dinner (Sat – Wed 19:00 – 00:00, Thurs & Fri 19:00 – 01:00) Friday Brunch (12:30 – 16:00) Packages: Zuma cleansers/non-alcoholic AED 345, Kowahu (selected House Beverages) AED 445 and Bubbly AED 555
Bar and Lounge Sat – Wed 12:00 – 01:00 / Thurs & Fri 12:00 – 02:00
Telephone: 02 401 5900
Read my previous post Drinks at Zuma, Abu Dhabi
This is a sponsored post but all the views are my own. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2015. All rights reserved. The bar area photo is used courtesy of www.arabianindustry.com