There are two types of Japanese food fans in Abu Dhabi: those who have already been to chef Reif Othman’s Reif Kushiyaki in Dubai and those who have it on their go-to list. The good news is that Othman is in Abu Dhabi until July 10, bringing some of his famous offerings to Tori No Su at Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers in collaboration with Emirati chef Faisal Alharmoodi, founder of Letsbrioche, as part of the Food Forward series.
The menu features a mix of seafood, chicken, beef and vegetarian options, with prices starting at Dh55. As part of this collaboration, Alharmoodi brings his brioche and desserts to the table, while the other specialities are from Othman’s Dubai restaurant. This is also a chance to see the chefs in action – with Othman grilling in the open kitchen and Alharmoodi interacting with guests.
Get the sando, avoid the shrimp
To start, we order the chicken katsu sando (Dh75) and the recommended crispy USA rock shrimps with spicy mayonnaise (Dh95). The sando comes in Alharmoodi’s crispy, flaky and buttery brioche bread and features a chunk of fried chicken with a creamy yuzu mayo, coleslaw and a sweet yuzu kosho sauce.
Full disclosure: this sandwich is quite a mouthful and there really is no elegant way to eat it. Fortunately, it's so good that after that first bite, you’re going to want to devour it, etiquette be damned. The brioche bread is the stuff of carb dreams and Alharmoodi tells us it will be available at a food concept store he is opening soon in Khalifa City.
Unfortunately, we did not feel the same way about our second appetiser; the shrimps did not do their spicy mayo garnish much justice.
For beverages, we opted for the Tori No Su delight (strawberry, passion fruit and mango juice), and the zinggren frost (green tea, fresh lemon juice, ginger and honey), both refreshing and light mocktails that did not overpower the food.
Wagyu and rice and all things nice
For mains, we opted for the grilled Wagyu A7 fillet with truffle mayonnaise and yuzu koshu soy (Dh325) and the highly recommended rice mushroom pot and seaweed butter (Dh175). The Wagyu was cooked perfectly medium rare and was drizzled with a herb butter so delicious it was good enough on its own, without the sauces. Having said that, the steak paired well with the punchy truffle mayo, not so much the yuzu kosho soy.
The mushroom rice pot was the highlight of the meal. You’d think in a menu that features a number of seafood and meaty options a vegetarian dish would not hold its own, but this mix of crunchy chestnut and portobello mushrooms, deep-fried tofu and seaweed butter was incredibly flavourful and comforting, thanks to its rich umami flavour.
The Letsbrioche honey cake and the Letsbrioche praline and chocolate cake, (Dh60 each), were our picks for dessert. Alharmoodi says he added the raspberry to his honey cake to cut through the sweetness, and while it does make for an interesting combination, my partner and I preferred the praline and chocolate cake. Featuring layers of biscuits, sponge cake and chocolate, it was light and had just the right amount of sweetness.
The limited-time menu is available until Saturday; table bookings for Tori No Su are available here.