On a Saturday afternoon, my partner and I experienced Motomachi, an authentic Japanese restaurant located in the Dubai Festival City Mall. With Japanese language beautifully written over portions of the restaurant, menu items written in Japanese (don't worry, they are also written in English), most servers being of Japanese dialect and even the server taking the menu order on her notebook in Japanese (yes, we notice these details), the restaurant is as authentic as a Japanese restaurant can get.
So, we walked in to find a packed restaurant (It's not surprising, considering the good service and food quality they offer) and two seating areas. One indoors, and one referred to as Outdoors (though it's not technically outdoors, since it's covered up, but is considered as so since it's positioned toward the outside area of the mall by a beautiful outdoor and sea view). The indoors is a good option for people who like crowded places, and the nice thing about it is that it offers all kinds of seating options. The options included a high bar, a long table on which loads of people can sit (Perhaps, if you like to mingle and meet new people when you go out dining), and the typical low table with either sofas or normal chairs. The "outdoor" option is a good one for people who enjoy tranquility and a kick ass view, as the seating overlooks a beautiful ocean and sky.
FYI, Did you know Motomachi is a district located in Japan? thought it would be interesting to know.
We chose the outdoor option, and soon enough the store manager kindly came by our table to greet us. A Japanese server was then sent over to help us make the order. Being Japanese, she knew the menu in and out, and gave us recommendations which did not seize to impress. Not to mention, the crew was extremely generous, recommending almost half the menu, which also gave us the opportunity to write a more detailed review.
The menu houses some amazing elements, including
Kobachi (appetizers) including a variety of nibbles, varying from shrimp, calami and vegetables to scallops and chicken.
Salads, including simple vegetable base salads, noodle salads, salads from the sea (such as the crab salad). There is also a very original platter in the Salads section, that should be interesting to try if you like tomato, and that is the Hiyashi Tomato Tuna Mayo, which is basically a tuna mayonnaise salad studied in a tomato peace! That should both taste and look amazing (if you like to take shots of your food)!
Soups, including vegetable soups and soups from the sea (such as the Noppei Jiru, a shrimp salad with a variety of vegetables).
Signature dishes, which you've got to at least order one of. These include grilled or baked fish, such as the famous black cod, sea bass and salmon. We ordered all of these signature dishes for the sake of the food review, as they all seemed to be "must tries" (Detailed review of all their signature dishes in the Personalized Experience section below).
Main courses, which include their original noodles, all served with a mixture of chicken, egg and vegetable. The main courses also include a wide selection of meats and seafoods, such as the Tempura shrimp, the seabream, simmered seasoned beef, the chicken Katsu, the deep fried shrimp, chicken breast, sushi selections and seafood noodles. Some of these meats and fish selections are of course served with rice at the bottom or by their side.
Personalized Food Experience Here's exactly what we ordered, and a detailed review of the below:
Ebi Ten Wasabi Mayo - 6 pieces of medium to large shrimps, fried to a perfect extent and seasoned with a little wasabi sauce and mayo. We loved these; they were crispy and seasoned with a well-suited combo sauce.
Takoyaki - 6 pieces of dumplings, with the restaurant's choice of seafood inside. The Takoyaki was fried to perfection and seasoned with a strong sweet sauce, which we enjoyed to the max.
Hotate Yaki - 6 pieces of grilled scallop, grilled and served with butter soy sauce. It was our first time tasting grilled scallop, as we had been used to a baked version. We concluded that grilled scallop is deliciously chewy, especially when served with this sauce. Your appreciation of this small platter will depend on whether you like chewy meats and seafood or not.
Kani Kama salad - although we all know what a crab salad tastes like and we all love it (I'm sure), we had to try this one, as it came with the addition of a "flying fish", a delicious type of white fish.
Salmon Senbei Yaki - What this is is a piece of Salmon, served with small pieces of tomato and onions (Don't be cheated by how small the image on the menu makes it look, its a large one!) If you know how to eat this one, it tastes heavenly. The tomatoes must be used as a dressing to it, otherwise it will not taste as moist. It is definitely a premium platter though.
Suzuki Matukasa Yaki - a crispy covering grilled seabass, served with a sauce including wasabi in a way that makes it spicy to just the right extent. This platter was excellent; especially the crusts of the fish tasted delicious.
Ten Don - an original mixture of shrimp and vegetable tempura, served on top of a bowl of rice. The originality behind the cores of the tempura is wondering; you'll find potatos, vegetables and of course shrimp wrapped in crisp. You don't see that in any Japanese restaurant!
Tai Gohan - Grilled seabream. This one had an interesting beautiful covering, and tasted just like white fish does. It was also served on top a bowl of rice. The rice, by the way, is the Japanese sticky type, which I personally like and favor over other types of rice.
Ebi Tempura - 8 pieces of shrimp Makis, envelopes with crisp goodness and infused in mayonaise. These were my favorite sushi selection.
Aburi Salmon Avocado - 8 pieces of salmon and avocado makis, served in mayo sauce. - these were exceptionally tasty. The salmon was so fresh that it exhibited a pink color, and the makis were slightly spicy, which gave them a more refined taste. To top that off, the salmon covering was fumed to perfection, with Motamachi's special food flame.
Crispy Salmon - the Crispy Salmon sure did not look like the Crispy Salmon we all know. The salmon, having been fumed with fire, was darkened in color. The rice had a nicely saltenned taste to it.
Shake Harasu Aburi Temari - 2 Salmon covered sushi pieces, seated Salmon bellies temari style.
The famous cheesecake - that one is magical: moist, light and takes a whole lot of time preparing. It's Motomachi's pride and joy in the desert section, as the kind restaurant manager informed us during our food review of Motomachi
Overall, we enjoyed our Motamachi Food Review greatly. The service was amazing, food was both delicious and educational and the view was top notch.