Raffles the Palm have recently appointed three highly experienced chefs who have worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in Japan. The team have since introduced a new offer, know as ‘Sushi and Soul,’ – a very unique date night experience combining authentic japanese culinary dishes in Matagi, with an evening of jazz in Sola Jazz Lounge. We went over at the end of February to review Sushi and Soul – just the two of us, of course 😉
Where exactly is Matagi?
Matagi is located on the ground floor of the very opulent Raffles the Palm in the West Crescent of Palm Jumeirah. Hand your car over to valet and turn right as you walk in. It’s a cosy restaurant, with a beautiful bar up front.
We chose to sit at the bar that evening – it’s just something you can’t do when dining with kids, so anything ‘different’ is always exciting for us.
You are of course welcome to pick any table in the restaurant.
What’s the crowd like? Are kids allowed in Matagi?
We went over on a Tuesday evening for a 6pm seating. It was quiet in the beginning (that’s when I quickly do my photos without getting in trouble). Surprisingly, Matagi got fairly busy later on. We assumed there were a lot of in-house guests with half-board dining options.
Children are allowed in Matagi for the earlier seatings. Any reservations made for 7:30pm onwards are adults-only, and rightly so. Pss – save it for a date night!
What’s on the menu in Sushi and Soul?
You get a 4-course set menu in Matagi, followed by 2 drinks at Sola Jazz Lounge. This review focuses more on the ‘Sushi’ part of the experience, as the you can read all about the ‘Soul’ part, here.
We were a bit sceptical on what was on the menu. There have been so many new japanese fusion restaurants of late offering very similar dishes. Matagi, on the other hand, definitely did offer something different.
You start off with fried japanese glass fish – which reminded us very much of the New Zealand whitebait. A japanese friend said they call it ‘白魚‘ which translates to white fish – essentially the same thing, but found in Japanese waters. This is fried tempura style – crispy, slightly salty, appetising. This went well with chawanmushi – steamed eg custard, served with king crab and caviar. And of course – a tofu salad, with tomatoes and avocado.
Good start so far.
There must be sushi?
They served a tray of sushi, to be shared between the two of you. Not sure what happens for solo diners though.
It would be our first time trying uni sushi (yes, sea urchin!). It’s hard to describe it – slightly salty, a little creamy. Definitely an acquired taste.
There was also various parts of bluefin tuna – otoro (abdomen area), and chutoro (belly area). It was a tuna education evening for us, having had just the ‘usual bluefin tuna’, which we understand to be akami – the reddest part of the fish.
There was also meji maguro tataki – sliced tuna, slightly seared – topped with fried shallots, spring onions and minced ginger.
And if that’s not enough – a bowl (each) of chirashi zushi – which is a traditional style of preparing sushi for festive occasions. It’s essentially sushi rice served with chopped up sushi ingredients on top – something we have had at our japanese friend’s house parties, but not in any restaurant in Dubai so far. Something familiar!
Next on the menu – the third ‘course’, and seventh and eight dishes.
Grilled yuzu corn fed baby chicken served with miso sauce. This is accompanied with a bowl of steamed rice with vegetable tempura on top. We were so full by then.
What about desserts?
To end the evening, Matagi’s signature dessert – japanese mandarin sorbet with sesame mousse,with a slight touch of something Dubai – gold flakes. Gotta do it, right? 🙂
Glad to see the team try and create something unique, instead of the standard off the shelf mochi ice cream (which I also love), or otherwise matcha-something.
The 4-course menu at Matagi is special, definitely different to what we have had in other japanese restaurants in Dubai. The team is creating an authentic Japanese experience, and the Sushi and Soul menu definitely reflects this.
For 365 AED per person (which note, does include 2 drinks in Sola Jazz Lounge), we thought that this is quite fairly priced – taking into consideration the location as well. Definitely one to do for foodies out there who appreciate something different, and of course – those who would enjoy good music after a full belly, at Sola Jazz Lounge (more on that, here)
Curious to see what else Matagi has to offer, as this is definitely a great introduction to their new menu.
- Sushi and Soul
- More details on Raffles the Palm website here
- Tuesday to Sunday, 365 AED per person
Disclaimer : We were guests of Raffles the Palm to review the Sushi and Soul experience.