Though continents apart, Japan and Italy’s cuisines do share common traits. Both are known for simplicity and attention to detail, incorporating seasonal ingredients.
What’s more, the Japanese are known for their love of Italian food, with pasta dishes having become a staple in the country.
Merging these two worlds is Camacho, a Japanese-Italian restaurant in Abu Dhabi with branches in Yas Mall, Al Khalidiyah and Al Seef Village Mall.
The minimalist interior – with wooden chairs and tables and bamboo placemats – is clearly more Japanese.
The open kitchen at the centre, which is manned by sushi chefs, is adorned with miniatures of traditional Japanese dhows and a taiko, a traditional Japanese drum.
But the menu itself is an amalgamation of flavours, and it’s pretty extensive, too, with Italian starters, salads, pizza, pasta, meat and fish dishes and sweets as well as Japanese hot and cold appetisers, tempura, noodle and rice dishes, teppanyaki and sushi rolls. So suffice to say, there’s no shortage of options.
Although the Italian dishes on the menu are tempting, we’re feeling Japanese tonight so opt for Asian dishes.
The popular dynamite prawns live up to expectation with a balance of sweet and spicy flavours. Consisting of marinated chunky prawns coated with spicy mayo, this delicious appetiser explodes with flavour.
Camacho seems to enjoy playing around with its sushi options by combining different ingredients, which makes for a refreshing selection. Each roll of the signature Camacho maki, comprised of prawn tempura, salmon, cheese and cucumber, is well stuffed and the balanced distribution of ingredients allows each ingredient to stand out.
For main course, the Japanese white noodles can be mixed with vegetables, shrimp, beef or chicken. After much deliberation, I opt for shrimp. But while not lacking in flavour, I find the noodles too soggy for my liking.
Switching over to the Italian side for dessert, we end with the Casalingo tiramisu, which does not disappoint. The treat has the right balance of sweetness and bitterness, and pairs perfectly with black coffee.
With a diverse menu, Camacho is a great place to experience the cuisine of two countries that are different yet similar in so many ways.
Need to know
Location: Camacho, Al Seef Village Mall, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Street
We say: Diverse food options from two distinct cultures
Cost: AED 167 for two
Opening times: Daily 11.30am-11.30pm
Contact: 02 444 9660, camachorestaurant.com
WORDS Ferdinand Godinez