Restaurant review: Clap, Dubai
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Restaurant review: Clap, Dubai

Restaurant review: Clap, Dubai

A contemporary Japanese restaurant located within DIFC that go all-in with its menu and décor

Clap Dubai review

Japanese cuisine is not underrepresented in any manner within Dubai’s high-end culinary scene. There’s Zuma within DIFC, Akira Back at W Dubai that blends Japanese and Korean concepts and Roka located in Dubai’s ME hotel, as well as upcoming concepts including Clay and SushiSamba.

Naturally, any restaurant that aims to push Japanese fare to the forefront, will have to deal with present and future competition within the category. Rising to the challenge is Clap which opened its doors in DIFC Gate Village recently. The concept is owned and operated by F&B group Addmind, whose portfolio includes Iris present in the UAE, Lebanon and Qatar, as well as nightclubs such as Caprice and Mad, among others.

Located on the rooftop of Building 11 within Gate Village, we’re whisked up a private elevator. Clap consists of an indoor restaurant, an outdoor terrace and two lounge bars that accommodates 300 guests. Before we’re even shown our table, the first thing we notice is a chandelier at the reception consisting of 2,100 toys – mainly superhero figures.

Entering the venue, there’s a lively buzz around the place with chefs working at full pace within the live kitchens and staff flying across the floor to tend to a steady stream of customers. Japanese traditions use a set of five elements – earth, fire, wind, water and void – each of which are represented in the interiors of this stylish restaurant.

There’s a low-rise water fountain running down along the side of the salad bar, bamboo and roots on a ceiling fixture, fire by way of the Josper oven visible within the open kitchen, with the air and void represented by the space and the location of the restaurant itself on the rooftop.

At this licensed venue, the décor might be a serious draw, but it is the food that will need to remain the star attraction for it to remain at the top spot.

Clap’s menu includes vegetarian and vegan-friendly items as well, with cold and hot starters, signature mains, rolls, nigiris, makis and a selection of grills too.

We begin with bite-sized crispy rice with king crabs and the crunchy clap cloud salmon, which has a salmon tartare with spicy mayo and chives. The service is remarkably quick, with our starters served at the table in under 10 minutes. The staff, attentive and trained to a fault, are only a cursory glance away from swiftly moving towards your table to attend to any request.

A must-try is the clap salad that comprises of farm-fresh spinach and kohlrabi drizzled with a citrus yuzu oil and truffles with fried leeks giving it the all-important crunch.

The sashimi selections didn’t escape our attention and we settled on the scallops with a lime and basil, neatly plated with avocado puree on top. For the nigiri, we ordered the akami which is the lean meat of the fish, though Clap also offers the medium fat chu-turo found around the belly area while the full-fat o-toro along the underside of the fish – clearly nigiri is a highlight at the restaurant.

We rounded off the starters with the salmon volcano from the signature rolls selection of the menu where the salmon was covered in a house-special spicy mayo and topped off with salmon roe too.

The mains aren’t an exhaustive selection with wagyu beef a natural highlight within any Japanese restaurant. Here, we opted for the tenderloin, which was sliced and done just as we asked (medium) and came with a aside of excellent sauces including teriyaki, a peruvian sauce and tosazu sauce. Try the stone bowl lobster too which is a mixture of brown, white and black rice mixed with sake soy, chilli and garlic which is finished within the stone bowl at your table itself.

For dessert, don’t skip the clap hot chocolate cake served with an excellent date ice-cream. But as far as ice creams go, at Clap you must try the assorted mochi ice creams – ours came in flavours of strawberry, passion fruit and chocolate.

Clap proved itself to be an all-around hardworking restaurant from the service, the décor and of course, the food itself. It’s making a serious attempt to compete with the Japanese restaurants who have been in the emirate before it arrived, and giving those that are to follow some serious goals.

Clap Dubai, Gate Village Building 11, Dubai International Financial Centre. Daily noon-4pm, 6pm-2am. Tel: (04) 569 3820

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