REVIEW: Aji at Club Vista Mare
Dubai is drenched in Peruvian restaurants. Just when you think that the city is about to overflow, another one opens its doors and, somehow, it doesn’t. Aji (pronounced ah-hee) is on a prime piece of real estate at Club Vista Mare on The Palm, which is a fantastic location given the surprising lack of Peruvian restaurants outside of the DIFC area.
ji is that it bills itself as a fusion restaurant, ticking off a culinary buzzword – “Nikkei”, which is a combination of Japanese and Peruvian food. But this isn’t a trend without substance. We can safely say that the food is of a much higher quality than many of its longstanding competitors.
And it’s not just the food that’s fusion. Walls are adorned with South American-style street art and crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling. Dark wood furnishings are interrupted with pops of turquoise and pink. The view is the cherry on the top of an exceptionally well designed space.
The mark of a good Nikkei restaurant is the raw fish. It’s impossible to hide below-par produce in ceviche or sushi, and this is where Aji excels. Make sure you try to signature ceviche dish with raw sea bass, scallops, octopus and shrimp, which is the perfect blend of citrus and spice.
Other highlights on the menu are the maguro taco (raw tuna with truffle oil in a bite sized taco shell) and the steamed gyozas (filled with sirloin, Aji Amarillo, onion and tomato). The shrimp tempura is one of the best hot dishes on the menu, and if you’re looking to spruce up your Instagram order a plate of ebi teppan, which is as delicious as it is photogenic.
As we ate our way though (almost) the entirety of Aji’s menu, we were surprised to look around and see a lot of empty tables. Given that Club Vista Mare is such a popular place, it doesn’t seem to have built up the same customer base as its neighbours, which is surprising given that it’s probably one of the nicest restaurants.
We returned to Aji a few nights after our review because some visitors were in town and it is the perfect chilled yet trendy place to catch up. After spending a week sampling some of Dubai’s best restaurants, ladies nights and brunches, we asked them what their highlight was – “Aji” they replied without hesitation. Given its delicious menu, holiday-vibe and reasonable prices, we have to agree that it’s up there with the best.
If our review didn't convince you, then the fact that Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has eaten there should.
Contact: +971 552 0244, www.aji.ae