Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

Restaurant review: fresh sushi and flaky cod is done swimmingly well at Dubai's Kyo

The Japanese restaurant has a new branch at The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah

Kyo restaurant at The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah, serves Japanese fare that moves beyond tradition
Kyo restaurant at The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah, serves Japanese fare that moves beyond tradition

Kyo Restaurant & Lounge first opened in Dubai a few years ago, when it was located on the trunk of Palm Jumeirah. It’s now moved a little further from the mainland to The Pointe, where it has an amazing location with Arabian Gulf views that pairs well with its contemporary Japanese interior.

Dubai is not short on Japanese restaurants, but Kyo promises a unique menu and a “true dining experience”. The open kitchen is designed to assist with this, letting diners feel more involved in the art of ­sushi-making. The restaurant also gets kudos for its sustainability efforts which include Shibaki food preparation – where chefs curate and remove fibres from meat by hand to minimise wastage – and takeaway containers made from bamboo wood.

What to expect and where to sit

With a huge open front, even the interiors of this eatery have an al fresco vibe. The design is inspired by traditional Japanese features fused with a twist of contemporary flair. The mood lighting and upbeat music create a relaxed atmosphere where it is easy to slip into dining mode. If the weather allows, head outside to the huge multilevel terrace where you’ll be seated on wooden chairs with water views. You can even make use of the swinging wooden chairs if the mood takes you.

Sit on the terrace at Kyo for awesome views of the Arabian Gulf
Sit on the terrace at Kyo for views of the Arabian Gulf

Who’s eating there

My dining partner and I visit when it’s still a little too hot to sit comfortably outside, but the view is so pretty we decide to brave it anyway. Water-misting fans help to cool things down a little, and there are a small number of other guests braving the weather. Within, a few tables of couples are making the most of the intimate setting.

The menu

The menu includes a variety of sushi, all freshly prepared at the central sushi bar. All of it tempts us, but we limit ourselves to a portion of California uramaki (Dh70) which comes with orange tobiko, crabmeat, salmon pickled daikon, Mexican avocado and spicy Japanese mayonnaise. It gets the meal off to the perfect note. Next, we have a classic portion of edamame (Dh25) with Kyo’s special soy salt. We don’t notice a huge difference to a regular salted edamame dish and, if anything, crave a little bit more flavour to coat our beans in. The fatty tuna tartare (Dh120) is the highlight here. Served on a bowl of ice, it remains chilled despite the heat and the pieces of tuna are gloriously chunky.

The main event features tara no yuan yaki (Dh195), or black cod, served with a side of wild mushroom salad and a butter ponzu sauce. Served on a banana leaf, the fish is cooked with miso, and all of the ingredients work well together. The simplicity of the salad ensures the focus remains on the cod.

Black cod at Kyo
Black cod at Kyo

We also sample the citrus suzuki guajillo (Dh194). This generously sized piece of sea bass pairs well with its citrus sauce, that’s also infused with the slightest hint of spice. As a side, the aubergine miso (Dh50) pairs well, the vegetables are grilled perfectly and the midly sweet teriyaki sauce brings a new flavour spectrum to the dish.

When it comes to dessert, the chocolate gyoza (Dh45) is a must-try. Elsewhere, we experiment with a Japanese version of tiramisu (Dh45) that bursts with ginger, orange and lemon flavours with a subtle undertone of coffee.

Standout dish

The cod is our favourite; even the presentation is a winner. Our portion of edamame was a tad too predictable for our liking, so we’d probably try something more exciting in its place next time.

A chat with the chef

The open kitchen where Kyo's chefs prepare dishes is designed to give diners a unique culinary experience 
The open kitchen where Kyo's chefs prepare dishes is designed to give diners a unique culinary experience

Head chef Arturo Mendez is impressed with our choice of citrus suzuki guajillo, a dish that he describes as truly remarkable. His other recommendation is the hosomaki sweet water eel, which is apparently “a small roll packed with flavour”.

When it comes to cooking, Mendez’s favourite ingredient is miso, which is lucky as it’s seen as the base of Japanese cuisine. “It’s such a versatile ingredient and gives a rich intensity to any dish that’s cooked with it,” says the chef. Mendez also recommends the teppanyaki menu, especially to diners looking for something a little bit special. The restaurant has mobile teppanyaki stations, so chefs can come and prepare the dishes at each individual table, adding to the overall dining experience.

Price point and contact information

Starters range from Dh45 to Dh150, mains from Dh50 to Dh525 and desserts average Dh40. Kyo Restaurant & Lounge (04 557 5182) is open daily from noon to midnight at The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai.

This review was conducted at the invitation of the restaurant

Updated: October 27, 2019 12:36 PM

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