Review: Okko Dubai, Marriott Palm Jumeirah Resort
The beloved Japanese restaurant is back, and Okku 2.0 is the sophisticated, grown-up sister to the original…
When I arrived in Dubai just over eight years ago, there were only a fraction of the dining options that the city boasts today. Which means there is a very limited circle of hotspots you can reach for when you’re looking for a place with good food and a better atmosphere.
Okku was one of those sites. Located in the H Hotel, its weekend brunches and Sunday night parties were among the best in the city, and it has long been one of the best places to party in Dubai. Five years ago, Okku said goodbye to its Sheikh Zayed Road location, ceasing operations in 2018. But now it’s back, promising the same lively atmosphere, in a new location at the Marriott Palm Jumeirah resort.
But the city’s dining scene has evolved dramatically in the past half-decade. Can Okku still make her mark?
It certainly looks the part we think as we walk by on a midweek evening. The podium-style entrance is lit by walls of glowing red and blue Japanese lanterns, clearly designed with Dubai’s Instagram audience in mind. Inside, the restaurant is divided into a lounge on the right – where the famous jellyfish tanks from the original return – and a more formal dining area on the left. At the heart of the latter, a huge bar takes center stage, ensuring there is a welcome buzz even in the restaurant.
There is plenty to choose from: the menu is filled with a wide range of modern Japanese dishes designed for sharing.
The Garlic and Chili Edamame (AED 40) is the perfect snack to munch on while perusing the extensive menu, with an excellent chilli to edamame bean ratio to ensure the flavor hits high.
Next, we order the Oko Salad (AED 69), a mixture of crunchy black and white quinoa, diced apple, asparagus and mixed leaves with a ginger dressing, which is nice but a little forgettable. We enjoy the Crispy Tuna Rice (AED 99) much more, with each crispy rectangular piece of sushi rice cooked to perfection and topped with a generous amount of spicy tuna. A similar offering is topped with grilled tomatoes flavored with yuzu miso (AED 69) which is an interesting combination of flavors and works well too.
Before the next round of spins arrives, the violinist makes his way around the room, the lively tones from the electronic version of this stringed instrument meshing perfectly with the DJ’s pulsing beats. The atmosphere is building at just the right time, and as we look around 11pm, the place is filled with impeccably dressed guests all in the mood to partake.
Returning to our dishes, the Wagyu Beef and Foie Gras (AED 139), which is included in the special kushiyaki section of the menu, is a dish we would recommend to anyone. It’s more savory, and the lemon wedge balances the richness well with the welcome citrus zest. For something that comes with a side of table offerings, the Avocado Kazan (Dhs89) arrives blazing, and soft chunks of avocado, mushrooms and asparagus come with a lovely char. Then there are the “O” style scallops (Dhs169), which are elegantly presented on a slate, each plump scallop topped with fig sauce and arranged on a ribbon of truffle and sesame sauce. Presentation gets a big thumbs up, and taste gets a two.
Although we were quite full, we were convinced to try the lychee and raspberry mousse (AED 60), a dish with a beautiful shade of pink, and exactly the light and sweet flavor we need to round off a great meal.
Verdict: This is a late-night place to grab dinner and stay with a lively atmosphere.
Okko Dubai, Marriott Palm Jumeirah Resort, Palm Jumeirah, Palm West Beach, Monday to Thursday from 6pm to 2am, Friday and Saturday from 6pm to 3am, closed on Sunday, Tel: (0)46661566. okku.com
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