Sakura – A Hidden Sushi Haven In the heart of Dubai

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Every once in a while, we all love to set aside routine and try something exotic.

Oriental cuisine, for instance.

With the number of Asian and East Asian culinary options on offer in Dubai, it’s an easy choice and one that is really satisfying.

Japanese cuisine is something that stands out in the top list of many food lovers when it comes to Oriental cuisine. Well, why not! With Japanese cuisine being so unique and distinct in taste and style compared to many other types of Asian cuisine, it’s quite natural.

Japanese culinary traditions have amply demonstrated that they are among the most enthusiastic and passionate of any race when it comes to food.  This factor reflects in the taste and quality of their fare too. With less of frying and more of careful preparation of steamed or even raw food, Japanese gastronomy has managed to capture the hearts of food connoisseurs world-over.

The editorial team at Arabian Gazette were in the mood for some Japanese, so we headed straight to Sakura, one of Dubai’s top Japanese restaurant.

Sakura is tucked into a quiet corner on the 4th level of Crowne Plaza hotel. The only way to access the restaurant is by passing through the Oscar Vine Society, so after playing a little hide and seek game with the two decade old hotel, we set feet into Sakura.

Subtle and subdued lighting, calligraphy adorned walls, and a peaceful simplicity abounded the restaurant.  This soothing and extremely relaxing Zen-like ambiance hit us as soon as we entered and transferred us to another world. At one point, it almost felt like we were inside a Japanese restaurant off a busy street in Tokyo, minus all the noise and commotion.

While the elegant décor and calligraphy appealed to our eyes, the smell of fresh sushi emanating from the live sushi bar, captivated our olfactory senses and pushed us to kick start our culinary adventure.

Kathrin Gnilka, the PR & Marketing manager of the IHG property, along with the restaurant’s courteous staff welcomed us and guided us to our table.  After some quick appetizers, we were led straight to the Sushi counter where the sushi chef was preparing an amazing treat for us – The caterpillar roll.

Below are some of the delicacies we savored.

For the starters we had Maguro Salada – Fresh tuna slices in sour wasabi cream, and then Ebi Tempura , which is light tempura batter friend prawns served with traditional accompaniment.

Then we moved on to Sushi which were heavenly, luscious and fresh.  The amount of sushi and sashimi we ingested in one sitting that evening would bear testimony to the fact of how much “Sushi love” has taken over us. The food was more than impressive and our craving for Sushi was fully satiated, so to say!

The chefs at Sakura treated us to some of their specialty items like Caterpillar roll which has avocado on the outside and eel on the inside – Yes eel!

And Lion King, which is a delightful concoction of crab meat, avocado and cucumber layered with salmon and mild spicy Sauce.

The highlight of the dining experience was the Tappanyaki dinner and needless to say, a Teppanyaki dinner is never complete without the entertainment factor from the chef.

The beauty of Teppanyaki is that it brings diners at the heart of meal preparation giving them a truly interactive and entertaining dining experience.   The precision and artistry with which our chef tossed the kitchen knives and cutlery amazed us and we suddenly felt we were no longer at a restaurant but at some theater watching a skilled artist perform.

As our chef placed the meat on the grill, slicing it and dicing it and tossing in the sauce, we waited in much excitement to savor those luscious bite-sized pieces.  It was hard to stop our mouths from watering as we sat there witnessing the beef brown and release its savory juices. The egg fried rice prepared with fresh vegetables on the Teppan tasted amazing too, as did the Lobster and Chicken. In fact every morsel tasted heavenly, to say the least.

Few things you can always expect from any Crowne Plaza property is the quality. Only the freshest and highest quality ingredients are used, and the food is always skilfully cooked to perfection, to give it that premium taste. We had written about it in our review of Al Fresco here. Second, their service is usually remarkable and second to none, manned by well-trained servers who are attentive, courteous and quick.

Exceptional food aside, it’s the attentive, patient service that will have us returning for another memorable dining experience.

Our Verdict :  

Sakura is definitely an excellent choice if you are a sushi lover and want to enjoy an authentic Japanese dinner complete with all the fun and entertainment. Book a table and enjoy a teppanyaki style dinner if you are going with a pack of friends.  If you are looking for a more private and intimate dining experience with your family or partner, Sakura has 2 private tatami rooms too, that can be booked.

Dubai has no shortage of excellent restaurants, but when you want a little extraordinariness and entertainment to go with your meal, consider dining at Sakura.

Décor:                ****

Service:             *****

Food:                  *****

Ambiance:        ****

Value:                 *****

Location: Fourth floor,Crowne Plaza® Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai

Opening hours:    6 pm – 12 am

For further information or reservations please call 800 CROWNE (276963) or contact them at [email protected].

Footnote :  Special thanks to Ms. Kathrin Gnilka without whom we could not have discovered this hidden Dubai gem and a special mention for her courteousness, attention to details and for ensuring that the entire crew had a truly memorable evening.  
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