SquareMeal Review of
The first branch of the fusion Japanese chain to open outside the Middle East, Oliver Maki is an enticing prospect. Luxury ingredients (Wagyu beef, chutoro tuna) and spectacular, theatrical dishes take centre stage. Pre-eminent among the latter is ‘Sushi Jewels’: 12 pieces of first-rate sushi served in a clear plastic jewellery box filled with smoke. We also loved the tasty Wagyu fried rice; the succulent, light filo shrimp tempura served in a shot glass with dipping sauce; and the beautiful green-tea tiramisu dessert – highlighting the attention to detail paid by ex-Nobu sushi chef, Louis Kenji Huang. Yet despite these flourishes, the mood within the two-storey, minimalist black-and-grey restaurant is solemn. The large menu is clearly presented on tablets but you’ll need the courteous, well-drilled staff to assist, as only some dishes include descriptions – adding pictures would be a huge improvement. Surprisingly, we were disappointed by the signature ‘Oliver Maki’ (named after founder Oliver Zeitoun): a ring of tamely flavoured pieces of sushi. So, more fun and a flavour boost would transport the restaurant into the premier league, but, with its sweet, classy cocktails and well-chosen wine list, Oliver Maki should already attract sushi lovers and diners on flashy, expensive dates.