Delighted to meet a friend for lunch, I made plans to check out Origami (located in a neatly tucked away part of Jumeirah Beach at a mall I’d never heard of, let alone been to, but have driven past countless times). Said ‘mall’ has a marina and a number of dining outlets (and, as the continual struggle in Dubai goes, not enough covered parking). I found a spot in the paid lot behind the venue and walked somewhat awkwardly through the world’s smallest parking garage™ to the location.
After a sweaty lift ride crammed in with at least ten tourists (where are the stairs, really?), we arrive at Origami, cleverly signed and just outside the elevator. Upon entering the establishment, we are warmly greeted by one of the most uniquely designed restaurants in the city. Equal parts Arabic and sushi bar, I’m not sure if the interior is a match made in heaven, but it certainly catches your attention. Thus, patrons can sit at a traditional table and chairs, the sushi bar itself, or at the low ground tables (which vibe with a more local set up). As adult people, my guest and I choose to sit at a table. For the record, I’m certain the outdoor seating is lovely when the weather is mild enough.
The menu is set up such that there is something for nearly every Japanese/fusion taste. I especially thought the inclusion of cooked dishes was a nice way to include those who were not raw food fans. After a brief explanation, my dining partner and I jumped straight into the ‘new style’ sashimi, ordering both Yellowtail (AED57) and Salmon (AED53). We were not disappointed on either account, although I preferred the subtle truffle flavors of the salmon. Are the prices on point? Personally, I feel both dishes should be around the AED45 mark.
In the category of ‘small dishes,’ next up we were directed to the tuna pizza, AED63 (a similar version to my underwhelming evening at Ramusake). Even though visually appealing, I personally wouldn’t order it again. The base needs to be a bit crispier for this dish to truly shine. My guest spots the Wagyu and foie gras gyoza (AED45), which I would give a pass to, but for the sake of trying everything, decide it’s a good idea to place an order. Personally, I think it’s a bit of a stretch mentioning the Foie in this dish, because it doesn’t add much flavor, and the serving of said ingredient is relatively small in comparison to the dumpling. Furthermore, the construction of the gyoza is a bit problematic, as it almost fell apart on me. Of the courses we try, this is probably the weakest link. Similarly, the Beef Tataki (AED63), made with 8+ Wagyu disappoints slightly as the marbled protein was a bit too chewy for both of us. Despite its beautiful presentation, I’m not sure I would order it again.
Moving on, who can come to a sushi restaurant without ordering a roll or two? We again, opt for two of the more popular rolls — the Rock Shimp (AED95) and the Origami Signature (AED63). To finish this round, we also order one item from the main courses, the Miso Black Cod Skewer (super reasonable at AED95). The Rock Shrimp delivers on the name and will delight in a crowd favorite (although must be eaten in two separate bites). Unfortunately, I’m not sure I quite see the value in the pricing — nearly 100 dizzles for a roll is a bit of a stretch. Similarly, while the look of the signature roll is unique, the flavors aren’t particularly memorable (to the point that only two days later I’ve already forgotten). Fortunately, the day is saved by a textbook version of Miso Black Cod. Generously portioned, slightly sweet and perfectly tender, this dish is worth stopping in for on its own. Unfortunately, although served with a complimentary side — we go for the house salad — the salad is made entirely of iceberg lettuce and brings down the plating and overall impact of the dish. We give immediate feedback on this choice of produce.
Menus are presented again, and dessert is offered, which we have to turn down — there simply isn’t room left to eat anything further.
Would I go back to Origami? Much like nearby 3 Fils, I think it’s important to support these smaller, local businesses. If you’re looking for a fun atmosphere, excellent plating, and a variety of Asian fusion, I think Origami will tick the boxes, and even provide something for those who don’t enjoy traditional sushi options. While I would seek out a venue that is licensed (Katana, most likely), I think Origami is worth stopping by if you’re in the neighborhood.
Where is your favorite sushi restaurant in Dubai?
A to Za’atar was a guest of Origami Dubai. Opinions are my own, just ask my husband.