The UAE’s fascination with Japanese culture goes a long way back.
Arabic dubbed versions of classic anime and manga series, both in comic books and on TV, were popular on this side of the world with children growing up in the 70s and 80s.
Apparently, this love for Far Eastern culture extends to food, as evidenced by the large presence of Japanese dining outlets across the capital, from the high end to the more affordable.
Paying homage to this cross-cultural connection is Sushina. This new restaurant gives Japanese food an exciting twist by blending it with traditional Arabic cuisine; think of menu items like sushi made from machboos rice and duck salad with dates – you get the picture.
The cross-cultural reference is evident in the decor, too, with bright colours typical of Japanese aesthetics paired with Arabic calligraphy. Meanwhile, the presence of carved wood latticework is a throwback to ancient mashrabiya design popular in
But there’s no denying that the predominant theme – from the furniture to the plates (and bowls) – is inspired by The Land of the Rising Sun.
Both cultures are equally as well represented in the food. The hammour roll is a tasty appetiser composed of chunks of the local fish stuffed inside spring roll wrappers – it’s distinctively Asian in idea, but with a clear local influence.
The salmon katsu curry is beautifully presented as a small mountain of rice surrounded by curry sauce, with a salmon steak placed delicately on top. I scoop down instantly and am smitten by the thick sauce that carries the right balance of spice and sweetness, with the crispy salmon skin adding a different texture.
For dessert, try the tempura vanilla ice cream. Drizzled with chocolate syrup, there’s satisfaction in cracking open the golden brown shell to reveal the melting ball of vanilla ice cream waiting inside.
If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy Japanese food, or simply yearning to get two cuisines in one sitting, then Sushina is a great experience of fusion cuisine.
Need to know
- Location: The Mall at World Trade Center Abu Dhabi, Khalifa Street
- We say: A fresh and unique way to enjoy Arabic and Japanese dishes
- Cost: AED 164 for two
- Opening times: Daily 10am-10pm
- Contact: 02 666 6966, sushiname.com