FACT’S ANGELA BEITZ VISITS INAKAYA AT VENETIAN VILLAGE TO DISCOVER TRADITIONAL JAPANESE CUISINE IN A LIVELY SETTING.

We’re spoilt for choice in the capital when it comes to decent Japanese fare but when you want a blend of authenticity with an element of entertainment, there’s one place that aims to please. Enter Inakaya, located at the Venetian Village, this beautiful restaurant has waterfront views of the Grand Canal. When you walk into Inakaya, you’ll be welcomed cheerfully with a traditional Japanese greeting by the entire staff. This is such a nice change from other lackluster restaurant experiences and a lovely touch from Japanese culture. The space is large with indoor and outdoor seating but the real fun is to sit at the robata bar, which is Japanese for around a sunken hearth – this is where you’ll be able to catch all the action from the talented chefs. There’s also a yakikata (grill-master), who prepares dishes and then passes them to the guests using long 1.2 metre-long paddles – it’s definitely an interactive element that we love! The service is impeccable: measured and friendly.

We are immediately brought drinks. We order miso soup and yellowtail carpaccio. For our mains, we order a selection of maki rolls including spicy tuna, wagyu beef with shrimp and spicy shrimp tempura. The wagyu beef and shrimp is an absolute knockout with delicious, tender slices of wagyu beef wrapped around juicy shrimp tempura, topped with cream cheese and spicy mayo. Perfection! The shrimp tempura is also great with spicy paste and pickle radish and the spicy tuna is a refreshing choice with fresh avocado. We’re certainly off to a good start.

For mains we opt for the miso black cod fillet and the kobe beef skewers. Our waiter tells us that these are both very popular dishes – and we’re thankful for the recommendation. The cod was delectable, glazed in a Japanese plum sauce with basil miso. We’d come back to Inakaya just to eat this. The kobe beef skewers also hit the spot with freshly grated wasabi and Inakaya’s original dipping sauce on the side. We let the waiter order dessert for us and we’re brought an impressive display of treats including berries, a rich chocolate fondant, pistachio ice-cream and vanilla cheesecake. All are amazing and the perfect end to our feast. If you’re a fan of Japanese food, Inakaya should be on your list of must visit restaurants. Service is excellent and it’s a refreshing change from your usual evening out.

GO: Inakaya Japanese Robata Grill and Sushi Restaurant, Venetian Village Abu Dhabi 02 404