SushiArt

Rumour has it SushiArt, this new Japanese eatery in DIFC (or Sushi Shop as it is known in France, where the brand was born), was the heavily drawn upon inspiration for another popular sushi concept in Dubai. It did not take long after walking in to see the similarities. From the bleached-out pine, clean minimalism of the decor, to the design (and even contents) of the menu, there was a thread of familiarity running through everything. The setting is stylish, with a simple palette of gray, black and blonde wood, stylised and modern lines in the fittings, and a cute little private table, surrounded by Japanese style pine slats for privacy. Inside it was a raucous table of after-work diners having plenty of fun. The waiter told me I could order at the table for dine in, and was pretty quick to return to take the order, or to come over when needed during the course of the meal. The menu offers a few fancy and fusion-filled specialities from Parisian chef Thierry Marx, such as scallop nigiri with yuzu sauce, Thai basil and masago. There are also plenty of variations on rice rolls, page upon page in fact, some classic, some rather quirky such as chicken uramaki (aka inside-out roll) wrapped in mango. Some of the prices are a little steep though, with the scallop nigiri going for as much as Dhs19 per piece. But many of the large plates (such as chirashi and sushi platters) are offered with two complimentary side dishes during lunch hours. I ordered the super mix platter, plus a miso soup and seaweed salad. The seaweed salad was a neon green mix of different squidgy, intriguing textures, with a very soft touch of chilli, soy and sesame. While I loved that the crockery was attractively, irregularly shaped (in respect for something quite typical in Japanese dining culture), I was miffed to see the miso soup arrive in a bowl that was too large for sipping. Miso is just not a soup to have with a spoon. But it did contain nice, large pieces of luxurious tofu. The platter contained a good mix of well-prepared sushi. The salmon and avocado rolls were also decent, with a chewy bite to the rice, rolled in plenty of sesame seeds. The salmon nigiri offered a noticeably better quality of lovely, fatty salmon than your average sushi stop, and while the tuna nigiri was watery by comparison, both the tuna and shrimp nigiri were decent. Also on the plate were two ‘tulip’ rolls: an ikura tulip, wrapped in salmon and topped with giant roe that rolled and popped and burst in the mouth, and the black tulip, topped with crunchy salty little roe and wrapped in avocado for a saltly creaminess. Both were wonderful (and priced at Dhs20 and Dhs17 respectively for one piece). The bill (for one) 1x super mix sushi platter Dhs99 1x seaweed salad Dhs28 1x miso soup Dhs9 1x aloe vera juice Dhs19 Total (excluding service) Dhs155

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