By Thomas Shambler
A celebration of Peruvian-meets-Japanese cuisine at newly opened Club Vista Mare on Dubai's Palm Jumeirah
Quick food fact: the word Nikkei is derived from the Japanese word nikkeijin, which refers to Japanese people who emigrated overseas and their descendants. The term has now become the word used to describe the mish-mash of flavours that resulted when Japanese cooking techniques met Latin American ingredients – and the cuisine is currently taking the world by storm. While Brazil has the largest Japanese population outside of Japan, Peru has given rise to a vibrant Nikkei cooking culture also. In fact, Japanese superchef Nobuyuki 'Nobu' Matsuhisa opened his first restaurant in Lima.
This goes a long way to explaining the concept behind Aji, one of the trendiest restaurant openings of the year. Located at Club Vista Mare – the Palm's newest collection of outdoor/indoor restaurants – it's cool, artistic and bang-on trend. Certainly not the first venue to introduce Nikkei cuisine, it might be the best-looking (the interior is all exposed brickwork, vintage mirrors and ultra-chic hues).
The brunch brings together the best of both aspects of its cuisine. You get a variety of starters – 'posh' sushi rolls meet South American ceviches – followed by meats and fish served on Japanese yakinuku barbeques. Desserts – an often ignored part of the Dubai brunch scene (as most are too full to care) are well worth saving room for.