On The Menu: Netsu by Ross Shonhan
Fact explores the wondrous world of Warayaki at Netsu, Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai.

Nestled in the majestic Mandarin Oriental, Netsu is the brainchild of acclaimed Chef Ross Shonhan. Having opened restaurants worldwide, Netsu is his first foray into the UAE dining scene, and what a foray it is!

Netsu is a Japanese Steakhouse, which showcases the traditional Japanese cooking technique of Warayaki. This straw fire cooking technique has existed for hundreds of years and hails from the Kochi Prefecture in the south of the country. The fires are mesmerising to watch, and a seat overlooking the central kitchen is highly recommended.

Upon our visit, the restaurant was buzzing with diners, and an aura of amazement filled the air. Happy face after happy face could be seen at each of the tables, and as soon as we saw this positivity, we knew we would be in for an incredible experience.

After taking our seats, we were greeted by the attentive and knowledgeable staff who carefully selected our food and drinks for the evening. We were happy to try anything, and we were so glad that we let the team curate the evening’s menu for us. Dish after dish of impeccable Japanese cuisine was placed at our table, much to our delight, and ever-expanding waistlines.

We began with a variety of small dishes which certainly whet our appetite. The yellowtail tiradito cleansed our palate, and the Eggplant was devoured within seconds. A traditional Japanese Gyoza then followed, filled with succulent Wagyu beef. Our favourite of the starters, however, was the Korean fried chicken, this was so flavoursome, and the balance of spice and sour left us wanting a bucket to takeaway. It was no surprise to be informed by the chef that this is one of the most popular dishes on the menu. Our starters were completed by the magnificent Wagyu Truffle Sukiyaki, which simmered splendidly in a clay pot as we devoured each succulent slice of beef.

Netsu is a Steakhouse and features a fantastic range of meat, but no Japanese restaurant would be complete without a selection of sushi. Served on a huge platter of ice arrived the carefully crafted creations, each as intricate as its neighbour. Hamachi and Sake Nigiri were devoured with relative ease, yet the soft shell crab and spicy tuna maki were practically inhaled. What a meal we had been treated to thus far; so varied, so tasty and incredibly good for the soul.

We then decided that we needed to take a little walk around the grounds to free up some all-important space for the mains. So we ventured out the back of the restaurant to discover a vast terrace with every table full of al fresco diners, a perfect spot for those cooler evenings. After walking around the relaxing poolside, with views of the Arabian Gulf, we loosened our belts down a notch and headed back inside for our main course.

The Spicy Miso Chilean Sea Bass was an absolute delight. We couldn’t help but keep digging into the tender meat, which was marinated delectably. This is the type of fish dish that we would order again and again without fail. We were also treated to a magnificent Short Rib ‘bo ssam’ style, which was a showcase for Australian Wagyu at its finest. We were advised to collect the meat in a lettuce pocket, before adding kimchi and bbq miso sauce to experience the traditional way of eating the dish. 

Like all good acts, Netsu kept its best until last. The highest quality Japanese Wagyu A5 with a marble score of 9, comes in two different cuts, Striploin and Ribeye. Served on a grill above coals to give an authentic impression, the warayaki cooking style comes to the forefront. The straw fire cooking, which was a pleasure to watch from a few metres away is not just for show. It adds a realm of flavour to the meat that has to be sampled to be believed. 

Although Netsu is relatively new on the Dubai fine dining scene, it is safe to say that it’s here to stay. As memorable a dining experience as we have shared in a long time and one which we will undoubtedly be returning for. 

GO: Call (0)4 777 2232 for reservations and more information.