Hues of mysterious purple, fiery orange, dark wood and warm gold spread throughout the restaurant’s private lounges, sofas, suspended cages, glowing lanterns and exotic artefacts. The exquisite decor and ornate furniture immediately whisk you away on a journey from Asia Minor to the Far East. To take advantage of the nice weather and lovely view of the Marina, we requested a table on the terrace. After ordering some of the bar’s signature cocktails, we were treated to an amuse-bouche, the Organic Salmon Tataki with Red Shiso Cress & Wafu Sauce, which was also served later with the main dishes. Although the salmon itself seemed to be tasty, the strong onion sauce overpowered the salmon, leaving us wanting more fish and less dressing.
A wide variety of starters blossomed on our table. The Thai Calamari with “12 Spices”, fried -to our delight- in a light batter, found a great companion in its spicy Coriander Nam Pla Dip. The well-balanced Sweet Potato with Kabayaki Sauce & Truffle Labneh made for a successful fusion concoction, one we’d gladly order again. While the crab and ebi prawns of the Seafood Tartare with Ginger Soy & Wasabi were fresh and well mixed, this tartare could have benefited from a bit more flavour and seasoning. Although a more traditional starter, you can’t go wrong with is the Chicken Satay with peanut sauce, however, as an avid peanut lover, I would have preferred a bolder peanut sauce.
As we transitioned from starters to main dishes, an array of colourful sushi and maki rolls filled the table –and our bellies– in the interim. The Dragon maki rolls with spicy crabmeat, cucumber, eel and avocado, sweetened by eel sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds were delicious! The California rolls prepared with spicy crabmeat, cucumber, avocado and tobiko were equally as appetizing. We’d definitely return to discover more varieties of sashimi, sushi and maki rolls.
Our main courses were some of Asia Asia’s signature dishes. The Traditional Peking Duck with pancakes and hoi sin sauce -no twist there- was quite good, but we would have preferred the cucumber slices to be crunchier. While waiting to be amazed by the Persian Style Black Cod -our tastebuds were tingling with anticipation. Upon anxiously devouring the black cod, we were slightly disappointed by the dish, finding it fell short of our admittedly-high standards; the black olives and advieh spice mix dressing, although in theory sound like an interesting twist, did not seem to marry the fish well. Our humble opinion: black cod might just have to be served the traditional way. Moving to dishes from the Japanese Charcoal Grill menu, we savoured each tender mouthful of the Korean Barbecue Tenderloin Steak and the Cherry Salmon which was accompanied by Charcoal Grilled Green Asparagus with Kaffir Lime oil, and strongly recommend both to red meat and fish lovers.
Our last savoury creation was an Asian twist on tacos: Octopus & Organic Salmon Tacos with a very refreshing tomato relish and mouthwatering avocado. We’d suggest those as a starter, which would freshen and prepare your palate for the meal to come.
Ending on a sweet note, we freshened up with white chocolate sorbet, a Jack Fruit Strudel with Coconut Sorbet, and chocolate spring rolls with caramel ice cream.
Overall, the experience was enjoyable. The staff was friendly, although the service was a bit scattered. Mind you, our visit took place a while back during the soft opening, and we assume improvements have been made on certain aspects.
A friend and I visited again for drinks at the indoor lounge on a separate occasion and had fun; the music was spot on, the cocktails were highly creative and tasty, and the general atmosphere was chilled out.
Now that Asia Asia has established its identity and familiarized itself with the Dubai crowd, we wouldn’t mind venturing again on another journey to where Asia meets the Middle East.
If you have been to Asia Asia, please leave a comment on the page letting us know how your experience was and how you think the venue can improve.
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