We’d usually consider a sushi joint at the mall with a sense of blasé that only a UAE mall rat could conjure. And no, this isn’t Zuma. But then few places are, and as the person who recommended the place to us so eloquently put it: “The Promenade at Dubai Mall is world-famous baby, and Tanuki ain’t no joint.”
Of course, we were somehow persuaded by one of those influencer folk who find things like talking robots that greet customers when they enter fascinating. There’s one in front of Tanuki as well, which is probably supposed to remind you of futuristic Tokyo, surely. But after spending more than a couple of years in Dubai, you tend to forget those machines are still supposed to be cool.
Brought to Dubai by the Bulldozer Group, Tanuki is, in fact, disarmingly charming.Especially when you realise you could have made the mistake of going to Texas Roadhouse next door. No copy-pasted American steaks here at Tanuki.
Instead, they serve up some world-class sushi right across the Waterfront and let Downtown Dubai’s shimmering panorama remind you, once again, that this city really can just dazzle when you least expect it.
Of course, we chose the truffle and chicken xialongbao. It needn’t be said but if you must draw comparisons, the only difference between truffles and Tom Hardy is that the latter has been in something that came out awfully (Venom).
So do yourself a favour and get three each, because you only get a pair with each order and there’s no sense waiting on what you know you’re going to want.
Maki-wise (where the seaweed is on the outside) you can’t go wrong with the unagi sauce-based arigato that makes for a mouthful thanks the avocado and the cucumber and which strangely masks the taste of the rocket. Ura-maki (seaweed on the inside)? The Tanuki deluxe packs a bit of a kick with some spicy mango and seafood mix, and plenty of tobiko crunch.
But if you’re really in the mood for a revelation, tell Sylvia you want the unagi uramaki – smoked eel, cream cheese, salmon and avocado. It’s the general manager’s very own recommendation – she’ll tell you she hates cream cheese in her sushi. But only when it melts like butter in your mouth will you realise that while this parlour might be operating out of mall, the folks behind the counter know exactly what they’re doing.
For all the latest gourmet news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.