Place: Club Vista Mare, The Palm, Dubai
AED 375 (Soft beverages)
AED 495 (House beverages)
Timings: 12pm- 4pm
“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.”- Mark Twain
Aji promotes their brand via the hashtag #NikkeiEffect; which is reference to the Japanese immigration influence on Peruvian cuisine.
The restaurant is located in the Club Vista Mare, the latest Nakheel beachfront retail project on the Palm Jumeirah. Aji is one of seven restaurants located in the development. All the restaurants have outdoor seating on the beachfront terrace, plus unnecessarily large indoor seating which they will struggle to fill with guests.
For starters, we are served the following cold appetizers, to share (Unlimited)
- Flounder Nigiri- served with an Aji Amarillo sauce and black quinoa. Delicious. We re-ordered multiple times.
- Salmon Truffle Nigiri- X + Truffle = Success . We re-ordered.
- Trio of Ceviche: Salmon, Tuna, Sea Bass- the dressing needs work. Good flavours, but definitely missing both spice and crunch.
- Duo of Tiraditos: Halibut and Hirame- Delicious. We re-ordered multiple times.
- Futomakis: Spicy Tuna, Salmon Cream Cheese, Shrimp Tempura, Veggie Maki- This style of Maki rolls has sadly become the equivalent of the P.F Chang’s of Japanese sushi- Westernized Japanese Food.
Followed by the hot appetizers (One Round per person)
- Salmon Tacos- the best of the otherwise disappointing hot dishes
- Gyoza- both the dough and filling were underwhelming
- Edamame- edamame stir fried in a sriracha sauce
- Chicken Anticuchos- the chicken tasted under-cooked. A complete disaster.
For Main course, you get to choose one of:
- Pollo- garlic ginger chicken
- Ribeye- Ribeye served with mashed potatoes and mushrooms. Sadly the meat was chewy and undercooked. A massive disappointment.
- Robalo- Seafood fried rice.
No extra side dishes were served with the mains, unlike other brunches where you can choose only one main dish.
For Desserts we were served a sharing platter of:
- Chocolate Lava Cake
- Yuzu Cheesecake
- Tsuki Mousse
The Lava Cake and Cheesecake were both delicious and light.
Overall the food served can be described as a two-tiered experience, with the cold starters really impressing, and the hot dishes completely disappointing. Surely the kitchen can deliver more satisfying hot items?
The Beverage options are as follows:
- Beer: Corona (an absolute disgrace of a beer)
- Wines: House Red/White/ Sparkling from Antares (Chile)
- Spirits: (Gin, Rum, Vodka, Whiskey, Tequila, Sake).
- Daiquiri- Mango daiquiri
- Japanese Sangria- Sparkling sake, yuzu and grapefruit. Oddly this was a disappointment.
- Yuzu Cobbler- Gin and Yuzu Sake. This was my drink for the afternoon; but I would have preferred more Yuzu flavor
- Peruvian 75- Picso with sparkling wine
- Mojito- Classic Mojito
Overall the cocktails were ok, but I would expect much better at this price point.
Which bring me to the price. At AED 500 per head, one would loads of entertainment and a ‘happening’ atmosphere. Sadly the restaurant is less than 25% occupied when we visit and all the empty tables contribute to a “ghost town: vibe to the venue.
At a whopping AED 495 the brunch offers no value for money. With a similar budget one would leave happier visiting Coya or Lima.
Empty, quite, DEAD!
Decent wines and cocktail, but much better expected at this price point.
A+ on the cold dishes. F on the hot dishes.
Value for Money: 5/20.
Priced at AED 495, the brunch offers no value for money compared to other Peruvian brunches at this price point.