Thanks to Aji, I was introduced to a new cuisine-Nikkei. As an avid traveler and connoisseur of good food, I thought I was an expert in cuisines around the world, and I didn’t know about the exquisite Nikkei Cuisine until I visited Aji recently. The term Nikkei means Japanese emigrants and their descendants who have created communities throughout the world. Nikkei cuisine is the cooking of Japanese diaspora.
Nikkei cuisine has it’s origins in 1889, when workers from Japan emigrated to South America, mainly to Brazil and Peru to work. Over a period of time, Nikkei cuisine blossomed and it has gained popularity in Europe and USA.
Nikkei cuisine is an exciting cuisine with a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cooking and flavors. Aji is set to lead the Nikkei food scene in Dubai.
Aji is a newly opened restaurant, bar and alfresco terrace with the beach access and located in the Club Vista Mare complex at the Palm Jumeirah.
The ambience of Aji is classy, chic and effortlessly cool. The graffiti, paintings and the picture frames on the walls gives it a artsy look. Loved the gorgeous furniture and tableware. Even the decor is an amazing blend of Japanese and Peruvian influences.
We started our dinner with a round of drinks. This fully licensed place offers an impressive list of beverages and they also have a dedicated Sake bar. Their cocktails are quite popular, but the day we visited them for dinner happened to be a dry day in Dubai, hence we settled for their mocktails.
We tried 2 of their mocktails- Chinca Baja and Orchata De Café. Made with raspberry, yuzu, shiso and ginger ale, Chinca Baja was refreshingly good. Orchata De Café was a Rice milk cold brew with spices.
When I usually visit a Japanese or a Peruvian restaurant, I don’t find enough variety for a vegetarian like me. But at Aji that was not the case, I was happy to note that they had a good selection of vegetarian dishes and upon request they also made some veg dishes that was not there in the menu.
Next, came the Miso Salad. The salad was made with baby spinach, sweet miso, garlic, ginger and white quinoa. It was fresh, light and tasty.
We had almost finished with the salad then came a huge platter with a variety of dishes.
- Veggie Taco had a crisp shell with finely cut veggies like cucumber, carrot, radish, avocado with ponzu truffle.
- Veggie Maki with Aji Amarillo sauce.
- Avocado Sushi
- Cucumber Nigiri
- Asparagus Nigiri
- Shiitake mushroom Nigiri
- Tofu with black sesame and rich creamy sauce
Each and every one of the above dishes had one thing in common, they were packed with flavor and taste. They were deliciously different and incredible. If you asked me to pick a favorite, then it will be very difficult as I liked them all.
The Veggie Tempura was made with vegetables like sweet potato, asparagus, onion, shiso leaf and yuzu ponzu. It was crispy, crunchy and so addictive.
The portion size of the rice was just right. It was a bit dry, nevertheless tasted good.
The Thai Udon Noodles was fantastic, thick Udon noodles was mixed with tofu, veggies, peanuts and red curry. It had well balanced flavor and tasted extremely delicious.
The Yuzu Cheesecake was light and not too sweet. The mandarin, meringue and the berries enhanced the taste of this dessert. The Tres Leches was sweet, creamy and fluffy, it was accompanied with homemade raspberry sorbet. The Chocolate Lava Cake was served along with green tea ice cream, I know it is such a different combination, but it really worked.
The desserts were not only delicious, but were beautifully plated, creative and looked like a work of art.
Aji at Club Vista Mare is a must visit culinary destination. Nikkei cuisine is one of the most interesting cuisine where Japanese cooking techniques meet with ingredients and flavors of Peru.
Aji Restaurant, Lounge & Bar
Club Vista Mare,
Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
For reservations call: 04 552 0244