Okku is part of Dubai’s furniture. The Japanese restaurant in the H Hotel has picked up multiple awards since opening in 2009, as well as a reputation for being one of the places to see and be seen in the city. Such is its popularity, this place doesn’t have a ‘quiet’ night, with tables filling up fast on both weeknights and weekends. We visited on a Thursday which, despite not being one of their most popular evenings, was still full of life.

The décor is dark and glamorous, with a bar/lounge at the entrance, restaurant area on a lowered floor and a mezzanine level with private dining rooms. A curtain of lights separate the dining area from the bar – which seems very apt as everything at Okku is about theatre.

We started by checking out the extensive cocktail menu, helped by our waiter, and opted for a pomegranate mix to go with our starters. It’s worth making your way down the list of signature drinks, as each cocktail is served in its own creative style, complementing certain dishes.

On the night we visited, as well as having Okku’s resident DJ spinning some tracks, a singer belted out chart hits throughout the evening. The blend of music and entertainment managed to build that ‘club restaurant’ vibe that’s very en vogue right now, while still being relaxed enough for dinner. You can tell that Okku is well versed in creating the right atmosphere.

Edamame beans in truffle teriyaki will keep your hunger pangs at bay while your food is being prepared, and then it’s time for the show to begin. The ginger salmon sashimi is marinated in a citrus-soy vinaigrette, making for a light way to start the meal. Another favourite from the small plates is the avocado volcano, served in a flaming (literally!) half-shell with spicy mayonnaise. Possibly the most famous of Okku’s lighter bites is the beef tacos – not the traditionally greasy minced beef that you’re used to. These are served with steak tartar, avocado and sesame-soy in a crispy shell.

If you’re picky about how you like your meat cooked, order the Wagyu Himalayan Shioyaki when you get to the large plates. It comes sizzling, as the name suggests, on a Himalayan salt stone. The meat is seriously juicy and served with garlic-soy & oroshi ponzu. Another must-try is the yuzu-saikyo miso black cod, which is large enough to share between a few people and is accompanied with a fruity sauce to draw out the flavour.

Dessert is like a science experiment, particularly the ‘choco no toriko’, brought out in a large clear jar with a liquid ice-effect that covers the table in a waterfall of white smoke. It’s not just a gimmick though, once the smoke has cleared, the chocolate brownie and chocolate sorbet is delicious.

It’s no overstatement to say that Okku is one of the best restaurants in Dubai. And it’s certainly the right place to go to add a bit of drama to your meal.

H Hotel, +971 4 501 8777,

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