We’ve got 99 problems, but sushi’s not one! FACT visits the newly opened 99 Sushi Bar and Restaurant at The Address Downtown Dubai for an evening of Japanese haute cuisine.
Three years since rolling into Abu Dhabi with its upmarket Japanese cuisine, 99 Sushi Bar and Restaurant has now thrown open its doors in the heart of Downtown Dubai.
The Japanese restaurant has quickly become synonymous with its menu of haute cuisine, premium ingredients, exciting mixology and those oh so beautiful interiors. While the capital may have the waterfront views of Al Maryah Island, 99 Sushi Bar and Restaurant in Dubai is situated at the Address Downtown Hotel, boasting a terrace that overlooks the world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa. Talk about dinner with a view!
The striking interiors with luxurious black and gold tones that impressed in the capital have been replicated with gusto and precision for diners in Dubai. Typical of 99 Sushi design, the venue has seating for 99 guests, with additional capacity in the lounge and upon the expansive outdoor terrace, which offers a front-row seat to the spectacular Dubai Fountains. In expected 99 Sushi fashion, gold can be found everywhere! Neither the walls, menus, chopstick holders or the food are spared the touch of this precious metal. Yet the gold thematic works rather well, successfully managing to stay on the right side of gaudy and instilling the space with a sense of sophisticated elegance. A verdant living wall behind the sushi counter provides a nice transition from sea to land, replicating the journey of the fresh seafood that is artfully displayed upon a bed of glistening ice.
The secret of the Japanese cuisine at 99 Sushi Bar and Restaurant revolves around the use of premium ingredients and the à la minute preparation of dishes as a means to ensure the utmost freshness. The Dubai menu has been transplanted from the capital and features all of the expected signatures plus several exciting new additions. We are in awe of the 99 Katsu Sando which embellishes what is essentially a Wagyu beef sandwich with gold leaf and the resulting dish is as striking in presentation as it is in taste. This is thanks to the Wagyu with its grade 9 marbling and a hint of mustard and black pepper. Elsewhere, we find ourselves returning to tried and tested favourites such as the lobster maki with wakame, cucumber and yuzu, which is beautifully rolled and generously portioned. It’s impressive to see how the consistency regarding both flavour and presentation has been maintained across the two UAE locations of 99 Sushi Bar and Restaurant, thanks to the deft touch of Executive Chef Rubén Simón.
We gleefully work our way through the luxurious King Crab Au Gratin. A crab leg stuffed with wasabi, tobiko and yuzu mayonnaise that feels both luxurious and fresh on the palate. In comparison, the aptly named Golden Bricks present six warm nigiri constructed from tuna tartar, avocado, tobiko and gold leaf. As decadent as the golden surroundings, this dish acts as a testament to the innovation on display and elevates the dining experience above the expected sushi choices you’ll find in Dubai.
For our main courses, we select a proven favourite in the form of the 99 Black Cod. 99 Sushi Bar and Restaurant’s take on a dish that has become an obligatory inclusion on Japanese menus across the region provides a wonderfully sweet lacquered exterior and a succulent almost velvety texture. We also try something new are blown away by the Slow Cooked Short Ribs Ako Miso, a gargantuan portion of beef that boasts a beautiful flavour due to its slow cooking time of twenty hours! Served on a bed of roasted eggplant, we can’t believe it’s taken us so many years of dining at 99 Sushi and Restaurant Bar to discover this gem. With only four desserts on offer including Chocolate Fondant and 99 Yuzu Cheesecake, we find ourselves once again drawn to the charms of the simple mochi, particularly the green tea and passion fruit iterations which provide the perfect balance of consistency and flavour.
99 Sushi Bar and Restaurant as a concept may derive from Spain (99 Sushi has three branches in Madrid, one in Barcelona and one in Bilbao) where one of the restaurants was recently awarded the coveted Michelin Star, but the cuisine is solely Japanese. Although ‘haute cuisine’ appears to be the current terminology for anything new and vaguely different, here it represents an accurate moniker for a niche cuisine that seems to have resonated well with diners.
As a new concept for Dubai, 99 Sushi Bar and Restaurant makes a bold impression and is set to become an essential addition to the dining options in Downtown. Perfectly slotting into a high- end niche, this is a venue that secretes a luxury feel from the food to the very fabric of the building. Get your reservations in now!
GO: Call (0)4 547 2241 for reservations and more information.