Osteria Funkcoolio leads new UAE restaurant openings in May

Brainchild of former 11 Woodfire chef joins French-style spot in Dubai and a Sharjah venue celebrating Iran's heritage on a plate

The decor at Osteria Funkcoolio lives up to the Italian-Japanese restaurant's unique name. Leslie Pableo for The National
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While restaurants open en masse during the UAE's cooler months, there are still some operators who choose to launch their venues in the summer. Here are five to sample.

Akabeko, Dubai

Cuisine: Japanese

Dubai will never get tired of Japanese dining spots. This new one at West Beach, Palm Jumeirah focuses on grilling premium A5 Wagyu, serving different cuts of it fresh from a tabletop stove. This dining practice and cuisine is called yakiniku in Japanese.

Other than the premium beef, other dishes on the menu include supreme wag-yukke, a spicy tartar garnished with scallops, uni and ikura; Akabeko donburi with Wagyu steak, uni, caviar and truffle. Desserts include truffle ice cream.

Daily, noon-4pm and 6pm-11pm; Voco Dubai The Palm; akabeko.ae

Aretha, Dubai

Cuisine: French, international

Expect dinner with a side of live and lively music at Aretha by Rikas, the hospitality group behind Chez Wam, Lana Lusa, Mimi Kakushi and Xu. Located in the buzzing St Regis Gardens, The Palm, the restaurant offers retro-chic decor in keeping with its focus on music from the 1960s and 1970s.

On the menu are premium dishes such as foie gras terrine, black truffle pizzetta and poached egg caviar with crispy potato and Parmesan emulsion for appetisers; and Dover sole meuniere, Wagyu rossini, rock lobster and caramelised duck breast for mains. Desserts include fruit-infused cheesecake and pavlova, and even the tiramisu comes with strawberries.

Wednesday to Sunday, 7pm-3am; Palm Jumeirah; 04 880 5242

Berenjak, Sharjah

Cuisine: Persian

Merely months after the London-born restaurant came to Dubai, Berenjak has opened a second outpost in Sharjah.

Located in the Aljada community, the restaurant is inspired by Iranian townhouses, with their traditional Persian artworks, velvet curtains, high ceilings and vintage chandeliers.

On the menu are mezze such as black chickpea hummus and panir sabzi; kebabs such as minced koobideh lamb, marinated jujeh chicken and beef tikkeh masti with saffron water, chilli, yoghurt, onions and red pepper. The restaurant also serves traditional lamb stew that can be washed down with black lime sharbat.

Sunday to Thursday, noon-11.30am; Friday and Saturday, noon-12.30am; Al Jada; www.sevenrooms.com

Bkry, Dubai

Cuisine: Baked goods, all-day dining

Joining a host of dining spots at Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz is this artisan bakery founded by chef Kameel Rasyid. An extensive range of pastries and baked goods are on the menu, from sourdoughs and croissants loaf breads to sweet treats. Specialty coffee is also on the cards.

Although mainly a bakery, the dining spot also serves lunch and breakfast, with dishes including miso sunflower seed hummus, duck salad and lobster linguine.

Daily, 9am-10pm; Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz; 04 832 4672

Osteria Funkcoolio, Dubai

Cuisine: Itameshi

The brainchild of Michelin-lauded chef Akmal Anuar (of 11 Woodfire fame), the intriguingly named restaurant in Port De La Mer is designed like a vintage postcard – think a green ceiling, floral wallpaper, enormous chandeliers and booths with red leather seats. And it serves a blend of Japanese-Italian, or Itameshi cuisine.

This means pasta dishes with dashi or five spice; and risotto made from Koshihikari sushi rice. The sea bass comes with sudachi, a lime-like fruit from Shikoku Island, while the pizza has toppings of shrimp and aji amarillo.

Wednesday to Monday, 3pm-11pm; Jumeirah 1; 050 284 7173

Updated: May 31, 2024, 12:59 PM