The Food Byte: Ramusake

Thursday, August 25, 2016

When I heard that Ramusake had opened its doors in Dubai, I was intrigued. Originally from South Kensington in London, Ramusake is a members only club and it has quite a few interesting dishes on the menu. Unfortunately, the London venue closed down but it made me wonder if the same structure would be replicated in Dubai. Would we have a members-only restaurant?

Not really and this is something to rejoice about. Ramusake brings the same atmosphere from London to Dubai and even has a few dishes off the original menu. Located in Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), Ramusake is nestled in DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels; you will not have any parking woes thanks to the quick valet service.

I've never had Japanese cuisine before and the restaurant specializes in it, so I was quite excited to step foot into Ramusake.

The restaurant's dimly lit interiors are home to a beautiful customized mural and the vibe is pretty welcoming. I was there on a Friday night and to my luck, the music accompanying the food was quite pleasing. I later realized that a DJ was brought in for that particular evening. Let's face it- if you are going to go to a Japanese restaurant, it better have good music- am I right?

I was quite surprised that Ramusake, about 6 weeks into its opening, had a full house save for one table that could house about 8-10 people. That table was occupied 30mins later. It felt good being there knowing that a restaurant will only be at full occupancy when it's good on all levels, from the location to the food to the service.

While Ramusake serves state of the art wine and cigars (it wasn't a members only club in London for no reason), we ordered 2 non-alcoholic drinks: the Mocking Bird and the Last Ronin. Words fail me when I try to describe my drink, the Mocking Bird. Every sip made me want to order 5 glasses of it. A divine concoction of cold lychee, delicious passion fruit topped with the sweetest honey and lavender foam. I have not had a drink this good and I can't wait to have to same again on my next visit. The Last Ronin is a classic summer drink- mango and passion fruit with a splash of lime speckled with basil leaves. Almost feels like you should be on the beach, and not at a restaurant while sipping these!

The appetizers began to roll in, the first being Miso Soup. This was my very first food from the Japanese cuisine and I was pleasantly surprised that the soup was a delight.

The traditional Japanese soup consists of a flavorsome miso paste, edible seaweed and tofu. I realized much later, that the miso paste has fish in it. I'm not a seafood lover and the reason I loved the Miso Soup so much is because I did not taste the fish at all! In fact, the soup was quite delicious and I wish I had some more, but I left space for the rest of the food cavalry.

Ramusake has perfected the art of sweet potato fries and they serve it with a small helping of Kimchi Mayo and Jalapeno Dip. Let me tell you this. Forget all the sweet potato fries and try this one. Perfectly crunchy and soft, these fries dipped in the Jalapeno dip (or the Kimchi Mayo) were one of the stars of the evening. I loved and savored every bite until I had to stop myself. Because, main course.

I'm not a seafood fan and I avoid anything fish but I decided to try the Steamed Prawn Gyoza (dumplings) head on. When I stepped into Ramusake, I knew what I was signing up for and the little voice in my head asked me to 'man up!'

I don't regret the decision of biting into the seafood dumplings. I think the reason I don't like seafood is probably the pungent smell and the way it tastes but much to my surprise, the Prawn Gyoza did not have either. It tasted quite nice and did not have the standard seafood stench. Full brownie points for this dish!

The Nanuru Salad is a delicious amalgamation of spinach, bean sprouts, sesame oil and sea salt. If you're into tofu, try the Ramusake Salad- think crispy tofu, cherry tomatoes and pine nuts.

And here's the star of the evening when it comes to savory food- the Vegetable Futomaki with the Wasabi Salsa. As I write this, I want to drop everything and drive to Ramusake just so I can eat it again. Perfectly organized, coated and cut, the Futomaki is a splendid medley of assorted vegetables wrapped in nori and coated with sushi rice with a drizzle of wasabi salsa. These were mouthwatering and I havent had as many rolls as I did with these. If I go to Ramusake again, it would definitely be for this and the Mocking Bird.

The finale of the main course was the Miso Grilled Black Cod served with a side of Grilled Sweet Corn. I was actually taken aback when I tried the cod. The fish, rich with a caramel flavor to it was cooked to perfection and I quite enjoyed eating a few bits of it.

While I sipped on the last ounce of the Mocking Bird, the Chocolate Fondant and the Coconut Panna cotta made their way to my table. I love chocolate anything and the only other dessert I love that does not have an element of chocolate is the Carrot Cake. The Chocolate Fondant was smooth as silk and the Coconut Panna cotta was delectable.

I quite liked the fact that I tried seafood at Ramusake and it didn't disappoint. The food was great and so was the service. I'm a picky eater and the restaurant has become one of my favorites. I can finally recommend it the next time one of my friends suggest dinner but do not have a venue in mind.

A meal can cost you about AED 360-450 for two people sans the drinks. Ramusake is located at Double Tree by Hilton Hotels, JBR, Dubai.

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