When sending off a colleague earlier this week, we asked her where she wanted to go and she only had two requests: Hakkasan or Zuma. Either is a fine choice, but I think Zuma was ultimately the better selection for a group (for reasons I’ll go into below).
Reservations? I didn’t make them, but we were seated easily at a circular 8 top. Given how crowded the restaurant was on a Sunday night, I would say that reservations are essential.
Ambiance? Zuma is modern cool. From the moment you walk up to the fancy entrance (located between the Rosewood Hotel and the Galleria), you realize this is a very unique space. The open concept kitchen, oversized bar and attractive staff add to one of the best spots in the city. It is such a popular place among my employer that we ran into two other independent groups of people I work with. While music was not being played, I know a DJ is usually spinning. [Note to Zuma staff: next time someone brings a 6 month baby to your restaurant, kindly seat them at the furthest point away from the patrons. Parent of screaming baby: please do not bring infants to this type of restaurant].
Food? To die for. This was my second visit to Zuma and I can’t say that I’ve had a bad dish. In their tasting menu, you can sample everything, but for our group the highlights had to be the baby chicken, black cod and kobe beef. If you’re going back for anything, it’s the food.
Service? Mixed. If there was any points to take away from the experience, this would be the place. While waiting for our dining companions, there were only 4 of us seated at the table. My friend and I requested the cocktail menu and then the wine list was given to me. I was asked no less than 4 times what wine I wanted to order, to which I calmly repeated, ‘We are waiting for the rest of our party to join us. We will order then.’ Additionally, once the rest of the party had been seated, I was somehow unanimously and unquestioningly nominated as the leader of the table (funny to me, given both of my bosses were present). I literally ordered for the entire table (with some helpful direction from our ‘lead’ waiter). Anyway, once we got going, the service was fine and they were kind enough to create a special, memorable desert for our departing colleague. I think there is also room for improvement between delineating between who is a runner and who is wait staff.
Cost? Not cheap, but worth it. My share of the bill (with alcohol) was AED535.
Parting thoughts from me… But seriously, the baby?