Two long weekends in a row? That sounds like a lot of reason to celebrate, yo. If there’s one brunch you NEED to splurge on this month, it has got to be the Friday brunch at Namu in W Hotel Dubai, the trippiest hotel of all.
It’s rare for me to recommend a meal so strongly and with such conviction, and this is the second time time in two months that I’ve been completely floored by a Friday brunch, and both of them happened to be in Al Habtoor City. The other “best brunch I’ve been to this season” was the City Brunch at Westin Hotel AHC.
I first visited Namu when Korean celebrity chef Edward Kwon graced Dubai with his limited edition menu, to be served exclusively at Namu throughout November. To say that it was the best and most memorable meal I had had all month still wouldn’t do justice to it. What made it stand out was how truly unique and new the textures and flavor profile were to my palate, but also how perfectly every dish was executed. When you live in Dubai, you stop doing cartwheels at after the 5 millionth display of dry ice and molecular gastronomy. Yes, clever presentation excites me, but at the end of the day, it’s my palate that truly needs to be impressed and I was completely floored.
It’s also rare for me to be eating a meal and already be losing sleep in anticipation of my next one at the same restaurant, but that was entirely the case at Namu, and as my eyes rolled to the back of my head while I wolfed down the crunchy Bibimbap salad at the dinner handcrafted by Edward Kwon, I made a mental note to return with M to the Friday brunch at Namu the same week.
I couldn’t go the same week but I didn’t rest till I did and it was absolutely worth the wait and the hype I built up in my head. The Friday brunch is ala carte style, which is just the best because made-to-order, dainty plating is what I live for.
Here’s what I had and loved:
Sashimi because Namu is essentially Korean AND Japanese, and when would I ever say no to raw fish?
Sushi, because please refer to the previous picture. Also, this was good sushi, real good sushi.
Some of the BEST ceviche I’ve had till date. There was Hamachi with yuzu ponzu and onion chips; Hokkaido scallop with uni, truffle soy and sashimi konbu; Tuna, salmon tartare with puffed rice, and saikyo miso, and kizami yuzu. I wanted to have 10 more of these but restrained myself 🙁
Crudites with a charcoal-like dipping salt that wasn’t salty at all.
Grilled eel in crispy wonton wrappers, placed atop puffed squid cracker with a spicy miso mayo. SO good!
Oysters, tosazu gelee, bossam kimchi, veal bacon and yuzu gochujang. Best oyster ever? Definitely in the running.
Wakame salad under paper-thin radish.
Japanese Miso broth, wakame, tofu and scallion. This was -without a shred of doubt- the best miso soup we have ever had. It was perfect in every way possible and id justice to the otherwise overused word “umami”
This was one of the best and most memorable things I put in my mouth that day– or ever. With lobster, ginger, balsamic raspberry vinegar, this kyoza summoned the sand-angels.
The BEST Bibimbap I ever had. Here’s what I love about it: (a) it’s vegetarian and you get all the meaty texture from mushrooms, (b) there isn’t an overwhelming amount of rice so you can still save room to eat other things and (c) the crispy puffed rice in it is in higher ratio than in traditional Bibimbap (d) it was SPICY! This is my new favorite dish.
Main course included Nashi pear and gajang marinated beef short ribs; Ssam-jang marinated lamb chops; and free-range chicken thigh with spicy gochujang and sweet potato. I don’t know if I was just fatally stuffed by this point, but I didn’t enjoy the mains too much. Also, the short ribs fell shot of my expectations compared to the short ribs prepared under the tutelage of Edward Kwon.
The last of the mains: lobster with miso brown butter, steamed bok choy, and baby root vegetables; Chilean seabass, saikyo miso glaze, ponzu broth, pickled eggplant; and Gan-jang marinated tiger prawns with tangle soy butter. Sounds like a mouthful and it was- a mouthful of delicious.
Now if you think that I didn’t have room for dessert after all this, you’re a fool. The dessert platter had a cucumber wasabi sorbet, coconut mochi, yuzu miso cheesecake, matcha chocolate pastry thing, and a chocolate tart-like thing. My favorite was the matcha chocolate pastry thing, and of course I loved the coconut mochi so much that I asked for more.
My second round of coconut mochi and I <3
I washed the meal down with a pot of green tea, overlooking the new Dubai Canal and almost-sunset. Truly a wonderful meal.
Special thanks to Sophia, the manager who educated me on many of the ingredients. I live for tastings like these.
Price: AED 450 (non-alcoholic)