Stephen Day checks out the new brunch concept from Okku at The H Hotel
It’s Friday again, where did the week go! What to do, a city full of brunching opportunities and a day to fill, so much choice and so little time. It’s rare for me to want to return to somewhere, so it must have been exceptional the first time and Okku at the H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road firmly ticked that box.
Being ushered into the bar area, the first thing that hits you are the large tanks behind it, they are full to the brim with neon blue jelly fish and a stack of crab legs and oysters to start everyone off. We are offered a choice of cocktails, we all plump for the lychee martini, which slides down a treat as more people arrive and Okku fills up. I’m a big fan of this staging area concept, we can mingle, take our time and not feel hurried along and everyone gets sat down at their table properly, rather than the mad rush I’ve experienced elsewhere. Plus the seafood nibbles and flowing drinks helps.
We sit and our waiter first delivers some bowls of glistening sushi and sashimi, he explains that we can choose as many of the smaller plates from the menu as we want, then when we are ready a main course each from it. We place our first of many orders and start on the fish, each piece is a lovely cut, the salmon was especially tasty, with a delicate grain of fat running through it, which bought out the flavour.
The ‘starters’ turn up, the classic Okku duck salad, as good as ever, salty, crispy, and fruity but a great balance with the surrounding leaves & radish. Then some punchy ginger soy chicken arrives, as soft as you could ask for, it just melted in my mouth. A tiger prawn tempura that was light of touch & not swimming in sauce that it lost that seafood kick. We also had some very delightful calamari, not really Japanese in my book, but a welcome addition as it delivered a solid crunch, plus some small chicken yakitori skewers, which were perhaps my favourite as they had little pockets of burn sticky ends that popped in my mouth as I ate through them, divine.
Moving onto the larger plates we decided to order one each and share the lot, so the clichéd black miso cod, robato steak, honey truffle chicken and a glass noodle stir fry. Everything arrives and it packs a flavour, I could eat a bit more cod but it’s gone in a jiffy as it’s so tasty. The chicken is interesting as its very, very soft and garlicky, not unpleasant, but I’ve just never eaten chicken cooked quite like this. The beef falls away & the noodles soak up all the sauce left in front of me, job done.
A Japanese dessert is hard to pin down, so Okku haven’t really bothered trying to. Instead they offer a chocolate fondant, an apple tart, and large chocolate brownie sundae. Ok I lied a little, they did bring out a creamy smooth green tea tiramisu, I thought it was a thing of beauty but it divided the table. Perhaps that amount of dairy on top of the previous courses was too much for some, but half the table, me included wolfed it down.
There are many positive things to say about the new Okku brunch, it’s a very relaxed & upmarket affair for the price. Front of house are attentive and whilst some of the food is a bit hit and miss, if you navigate around the classics you wont be disappointed. The price point won’t break the bank either, AED299 for the soft drink package, AED399 for house beverages and AED449 for sparkling grape and cocktails. Okku is definitely still on my list of places to return to.
Okku, The H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, 04 501 8777