Just like almost every corner in Dubai, with restaurants sprawling the vicinity, Jumeirah Lake Towers is also becoming a haven for foodies. JLT is not somewhere which Mark and I would usually choose to go, especially if we're looking for a place to dine, as there are already a number of restaurants near our home. And admittedly, we only get to visit JLT during invites for food reviews. :p
Just like a couple of weekends back when I got the invite from Mr. Nikashi, the administrative manager, to try out Sushi Express Cafe's offerings. They offer sushi. Mark loves sushi. So I guess you know what happened next.
Sushi Express Cafe adapted the modern minimalist design, which is what most Japanese restaurants usually look like. It was cozy and no-frills. There's an al fresco dining area, but we were there for lunch and you know what that means if it's summer in Dubai, so we settled to dine inside. I liked how they had glass walls though, which paved way for the natural light. It made a good lighting for my photos too! Yay!
The menu was elaborate. It included choices of Japanese specialties ranging from soups, salads, and appetizers, to sushi, donburi, yakitori, bento, and ramen, plus a couple of desserts and drinks. Most of the food that we got were recommended by Mr. Nikashi. For starters, we had Salmon Capraccio and Okonomiyaki, along with Pineapple Juice for our drinks (their juice of the day).
Thin slices of fresh salmon with olive oil and Japanese mayo and fresh white onions is what came in when the Salmon Capraccio was served. I just took half a bite of a slice and had everything for Mark to enjoy. It didn't have that fishy taste and I somehow got to eat it just fine when it's accompanied by the white onions, but I'm just no fan of raw fish. Mark on the other hand loves raw fish and sashimi, so this plate was pure heaven for him.
|Salmon Capraccion - AED 33|
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake made of beef, eggs, and cabbage, and topped with bonito flakes, green onions, nori, and Japanese mayo and some sort of soy-based sauce (I think). It's visually appetizing and it smells good too. It kinda tasted like Takoyaki, with the gooey core and all, and unfortunately I'm not a fan of Takoyaki, so go figure. I'm sure it would be a hit for Takoyaki or Okonomiyaki fans though. ;)
|Okonomiyaki - AED 29|
|Okonomiyaki - AED 29|
They serve fresh juice of the day. That time, Pineapple Juice was available. Mark and I had a 'glass' each, but didn't know that they meant 'GLASS' when the juices were served. Haha! :p It tasted fresh and was perfect for the summer heat. At AED 18 per glass, it's a steal as it sure is good enough for two.
Seared Salmon Roll and Fujiyama Roll were recommended to us for the sushi. Both still included raw sushi, so I just had a piece of each, which made Mark really happy! Among the two though, I think I can take the Seared Salmon Roll more since it's technically not completely raw.
It also had a hefty filling of salmon, spring onion, ikura (salmon roe); with Japanese mayo, hot chili sauce, and kimchi sauce. And yes, I'd have to agree with Mr. Nikashi that it's perfect for those who are not so much into raw fish.
While the sushi didn't really appeal to me, mainly because of the raw salmon in it, I enjoyed munching on the deep fried avocado and salmon pieces that came as the Fujiyama Roll's centerpiece. The sushi itself had salmon and cucumber, with chili and aurora sauce which added a nice spicy kick.
|Seared Salmon Roll - AED 33|
|Fujiyama Roll - AED 54|
|Chicken Paitan Ramen - AED 52|
Okay, now back to Sushi Express Cafe's Chicken Paitan Ramen. :p With chicken chashu, eggs, shiitake mushrooms, pickled ginger, and ramen noodles (choice of thick or thin; I chose the former) in a rich white chicken broth, this ramen is worth the long wait! The serving is generous it can be shared by two people.
Among the dishes that we tried, this Barbecue Chicken Yakitori Don is my favorite! Tender chicken chunks drenched in sweet & tangy BBQ sauce, drizzled with chives and topped with nori strips, over a bed of Japanese rice—everything that makes this Barbecue Chicken Yakitori Don my top pick! I'd go back to JLT just for this! :D I was craving for it one time and it also happened that I didn't bring packed food to work, so I ordered this. And boy, I fell in love with it the second time! How I wish they could also do home deliveries in Al Mankhool too!
|Barbecue Chicken Yakitori Don - AED 45|
We actually just tasted a few portions of the mains (ramen and rice bowl) as we were already full from the starters and sushi, so we just had the rest for take away. We also begged off when we were asked to try some desserts, but I'd definitely love to try the Avocado Brulee and Mochi Cream when I get back. And maybe their other sushi options. Oh, and their Yakitori offers look yummy too! :D
Overall dining experience was fairly good. Staff is polite and well-versed of the offerings and serving time was quite fast. Considering the serving size and quality of each dish, I would say that price is a steal. Definitely not of the fancy fine-dining Japanese resto type, but perfect for an afternoon by the lake especially when you're craving for Japanese food and don't want to hurt the budget. ;)
SUSHI EXPRESS CAFE
Ground Level, MAG 214
Cluster R, Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 (0)4 453 5229
We were invited by Sushi Express Cafe and our meal was complimentary, but as always, this post is sincerely written and all opinions are my own.