Has Zuma met its match?
In Abu Dhabi there’s an up and coming Japanese restaurant on the block. But can Koi, at The Collection, topple the sushi master?EDGAR staff June 17, 2014
The Collection shopping arcade is the latest piece of the jigsaw hoping to lure people to Saadiyat Island. Located opposite the upscale St Regis Hotel, the outdoor mall is the new home of several high-end stores, bars and restaurants.
Perched atop that list is Koi, the U.S. restaurant – frequented by the likes of George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jessica Alba – that serves up Japanese cuisine with a contemporary Californian twist. With the same concept as the brand’s Los Angeles, New York and Las Vegas branches, the impressive new 700sqm Abu Dhabi venue is part restaurant and part cocktail lounge – the sections are partitioned by a bamboo wall, but both are cloaked in dim mood lighting, dark wood finishing and cosy booth-seating.
The fact that you have to walk through the chic open bar area upon entering, makes it pretty obvious that Koi is gunning for a more socially minded crowd. This idea carries on in the restaurant where a sushi bar, an outdoor terrace, some smooth house music and the signature dining booths make it an ideal place to visit with a small group of friends.
Japanese cuisine with a fun contemporary twist continues to be a red-hot trend around the world, and with dishes including Koi’s signature Lobster Tacos; Hamachi with soy and truffles and Spicy Rock Shrimp Tempura – it is obvious to see why.
The enormous sharing platter of sushi and sashimi was an excellent starter with the stand out dishes being the baked scallops on California rolls; Koi dragon rolls with eel and the signature Rok’n’Roll (soft shell crab and spicy tuna rolls).
EDGAR’s litmus test for Japanese fusion restaurants has long been the Miso Black Cod, which we are happy to announce was very good, but ultimately overshadowed by the fantastic Grilled Chilean sea bass with honey balsamic glaze and shiso-pea coulis – the stand out dish of the night.
It could very well be a match for Zuma Abu Dhabi.
Details: Koi, The Collection, St Regis Hotel, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi. Visit Koirestaurant.ae