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REVIEW: Karma Kafé

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Following a full refurb over the summer, Karma Kafé has returned from its imposed hiatus with an even slicker design and innovative updates to its popular Pan-Asian menu.

Among the subtle, sophisticated touches found in the gold leaf detailing and Asian teak furniture, an expanded bar now takes centre stage, comprehensive in its variety of drink offerings and serving a stellar array of cocktails, many of which are made exclusively for the venue.

Unquestionably, one of this downtown spots strongest sells is its outdoor seating area, with views of the Dubai fountains, Burj Khalifa and beyond. Understandably, the redesign hasn’t stretched to here, leaving the terrace untouched. So, if you can – bag a table outside when you visit.

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With a host of culinary additions, Karma Kafé now happily boasts one of the most extensive dining menus around, from its award-winning sashimi, nigiri and maki roll selection, across to speciality wok dishes, dim sum and excellent robata steak selection.

If you, as ShortList tends to on occassion, find too much choice a little overwhelming, in the restaurant’s signature dishes you’ll find a highlight reel of items that champion what the Karma kitchen does best. Also, nestled in this section, we discovered what surely must be considered one of the city’s oddest sounding mains, the Angry Chicken – complete with purple potatoes, roasted chili, garnished with something called ‘angry sauce’. Worth ordering for the intrigue alone.

Thankfully, the classic dishes for which the establishment has gained acclaim haven’t been sacrificed, they now sit alongside other imaginative offerings like the Tea Soaked Salmon and Tuna Carpaccio with Anchovy Aioli.

While we’ll concede that Dubai’s gastronmic scene is hardly lacking when it comes to pan-asian style fare,  but with its eclectic menu, stellar service and plush surroundings (both inside and out), Karma Kafé’s redesign puts it resoloutely among the best of breed.

Three dishes to try:

Miso Black Cod with Pickled Bamboo Shoot and Ramen:
Any upmarket Asian eatery worth its salt knows how to deliver in the black cod stakes, and Karma Kafe is no different in this regard. Highly enjoyable.

Rack of Lamb with Miso Roasted Aubergine and Shishito Pepper Tempura
Historically, we’ve found lamb dishes to be a bit of a mixed bag in this region, fortunately this imaginative take is executed perfectly. Flavoursome and expertly cooked.

Peking Duck
Whilst not the most innovative dish on the menu, it’s accrued classic status for good reason. Served alongside homemade pancake, simply glaze with the moreish hoi sin sauce.

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