Oct 24, 2013

An unexpected Japanese gem at the top of the Radisson Royal

Despite the hustle and bustle below on the central artery of Dubai (Sheikh Zayed Road), it felt like we were sitting on top of the world at this sky high restaurant destination. Located on the 49th floor of the Radisson Royal is an elegant Far Eastern experience brought to you by a culinary master.  Executive Chef Song is Korean by ethnicity, but trained in Japan where he honed his skills in the art of Japanese style of cooking.  With meticulous precision and a highly developed palate, this chef pushed the limits with  just about everything you could imagine. 

After perusing the menu, I noted some items I thought would really put chef Song's skills to the test.  The first item, described as a Foie Gras with black truffle/leek, asparagus, orange and *Zzuma dressing sounded intriguing.  With the exception of a hand full of modern Japanese restaurants (including Zuma in Dubai) most of the foie gras dishes I've enjoyed are at French style eateries.  I thought it would be especially interesting to see this particular execution with the listed combination of eclectic ingredients.

*later we came to find out "Zzuma" dressing was a traditional Japanese Teriyaki sauce with added sugar, that has been caramelized.  
 Arriving at the table with a small glass covering, our inventive appetizer was "smoked" for an added effect and aroma.  I find the smoke more of an aesthetic element which adds the wow factor upon presentation.  It doesn't actually contribute to the over all taste of the dish, but makes for more of a sensory experience. However, this dish didn't need much in terms of tricks since the quality of the ingredients and execution spoke for itself.

The perfectly seared medallion of luxurious foie gras, coated in the ever so sweetly caramelized teriyaki sauce, with the delicate burnt orange segments and asparagus spears all came together harmoniously.  The final touch of the leeks and pink peppercorns on top added the freshness and a slight kick to balance out the dish.  Not only was this extremely satisfying to my palate, but a visual masterpiece by Chef Song.
The next items to arrive at the table were a selection of Maki rolls plus a sweet soy and seafood consomme. The maki were rolled and presented creatively on the plate along with the appropriate garnish.  Fresh and balanced with the soft well seasoned rice, nori, and seafood accompaniments, they all possessed their own unique profiles and represent authentic Japanese with honor.  The seafood consomme was subtle in flavor and might have been better served first, before the meal.  The fragrant broth with hints of ginger and soy were a magical combination, but after the powerful foie gras and flavorful variety of maki, it couldn't hold up at against the rest of the items on the table.   
Our next course was ordered reluctantly from my side, having seen this item featured and reformatted across the UAE (similar to the Miso Cod trend), people have rarely done it the right way.  And even though the mention of "wasabi prawns" tends to make me cringe, my guest insisted on an order of these.  Dramatics aside, when this dish arrived the table I was completely blown away!  The little crunchy prawn nuggets on top of the velvety (perfectly balanced) wasabi mayo was truly an unexpected treat.  Topped with fresh daikon tendrils and a chiffonade of seaweed, Chef Song thought of everything and has created something very unique with a dish I had completely written off.  The perfectly crisp texture of the tempura batter was just the right amount of coating for the sweet prawns cuddling inside.  What really stood out was the play on textures and flavors here, and although the wasabi was present, it was not overwhelming. 
For the main course we decided on the wagyu beef with a miso leek sauce, which came highly recommended by the staff.  What I found particularly interesting is that the staff did not ask a temperature for the meat, and in my eyes, that is breaking one of the cardinal rules in order taking etiquette.  UNLESS of course, the chef prepares it based on his recommendation, which was exactly the case here. Presented in what looked like a dried tobacco leaf, the wagyu tenderloin was cooked to a perfect medium. The savory and tender chunks of seared red meat paired with the sweet and salty miso leek was a heavenly combination, and an experience I look forward to going back for.
 The culinary team and front of house staff at The Radisson Royal hotel are top notch.  The restaurant not only specializes in sushi but they have an entire floor dedicated to Tepanyaki style of live cooking as well. Spanning over 3 floors, ICHO is not a small operation.  The price points are on par with other similar eateries in town, so you must prepare yourself for a higher end experience if dining in this elegant venue with a view.  Because it's still new on the culinary scene of Dubai, it will take some time for them to gain the recognition they deserve.  I highly recommend this restaurant if you are looking for a modern Japanese experience that "thinks outside the box" with creative culinary skills when it comes to execution and plating.

For more information on ICHO check out the Radisson Royal website:



  1. Missing Italy, Not Too Far
    Enjoy the Italian Sensation @Filini
    By Radisson Blu Hotel, Cairo Heliopolis
    Cairo – November 2013
    Classy, chic and elegant, Filini is a restaurant that inherits an authentic philosophy of real simplicity in food flavors and its general atmosphere, makes it stands out among Cairo’s restaurants. Filini believes that the atmosphere, design and style of the place along with the served food are essential to match the desired taste of our esoteric delightful guests.
    Enjoy the prosperity in its quiet, soft colors and designs where its walls are off-white colored matches with walnut colored floor, plausible classy decorations and designs. This peaceful atmosphere makes the place relaxing to the eye, mind and heart to amuse.
    Complementing the classical flair, the opened, wood, walnut colored Italian kitchen at the side of the restaurant where the delicious Italian food are prepared from pizza to pasta to seafood, revealing the well cooked herbs and ingredients’ alluring smell and flavors that open your appetite to the appealing Italian experience.
    Favorites advised by Fillini would be Fillini pizza with dried beef, pecorino, parmesan and bresaola cheese and tomatoes; another would be the Rib eye steak plate with balsamic onion and black olive. According to deserts, Fillini advise with Fillini tiramisu and the chocolate fondant with pistachio ice cream.
    “It’s all about engaging our dear guests to a spectacular Italian experience; promising to serve our host with an impressive service, atmosphere and quality, that would take you all the way through to Italy”, said Nasser Ewais, Director of Kitchen.
    Along near the open kitchen, located a mini bar for your choice of drinks; available a variety of cocktails to revive your soul.
    Directed after the hotel’s spirit “Yes I Can”, Fillini agrees when its guests desire a mood change as at the end of the restaurant found a glass door that opens to an outdoor oriental terrace. In this blessed fresh air breeze of November and December and the palm’s leaves waves; the seating would give the place experience intimate.
    Fillini is mainly designed for elegant, class dinners between couples, friends and families as well as work gatherings where casual coats and daily stress settle down. Filini is rated by its delightful guests as a restaurant that enjoys a welcoming environment with a friendly, hosting service and appealing Italian food quality. Filini, “Not far from Italy”.

    For further information, please contact

    Nevine Nader, Director of Public Relations & Communication
    +202 26965656, nevine.nader@radissonblu.com

    Notes to Editors

    Radisson Blu, operated by The Rezidor Hotel Group in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Europe’s largest upper upscale brand, offers first class service, providing guests with a contemporary hospitality experience. Radisson Blu has received numerous awards as Best Hotel Chain and is renowned for its "Yes I Can!" spirit of service and the "100% Guest Satisfaction Guarantee". September 2005 saw the roll out of free high speed internet access across the portfolio - the first international hotel chain to offer this service. Radisson Blu currently includes more than 260 hotels with 63,500 rooms in operation or under development in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

    For more information, visit www.radissonblu.com

  2. Filini, Eat and Feel Italian @ Radisson Blu Hotel Cairo Heliopolis
    Cairo – November 2013
    While many stereotypical Italian restaurants in our country unfailingly serve up cheese dripping pizza and heaped up piles of pasta, Filini is one of the very few Italian restaurants that will take your mind off this unchangeable idea.
    The flavors of Italy were redolent at this stylish restaurant. Combining modern décor with authentic Italian cuisine, Filini is a franchised Italian restaurant located at Radisson Blu in Heliopolis.
    Upon our entrance, we had that “wow effect”; neat tables, parquet floor, subdued light, shell beaded curtains, cozy chairs and pink pictures; all wrapped up in a nicely laid out seating which is aesthetically pleasing.
    And as Italians who believe that food should be a celebration of life, you will definitely experience the same way of life with Filini staff who works in a show kitchen that allows us to feel right at home. This elegant eatery has very professional chefs who attend cookery schools in Milan yearly to work on menu design and ingredients and to share ideas with other Filini Chefs. We had a nice little chat with the executive Chef Abdel Nasser Ewais who specializes in creating classic and innovative Italian recipes, with an emphasis on fresh ingredients.
    Simple in design but rich in content, the menu retains your favorites alongside outstanding authentic Italian dishes. As an entrée, we selected seafood antipasti. It was a really thumbs up dish! This tasty plate is chock-full of the finest and freshest ingredients: octopus salad, baby shrimps, grilled prawns, and smoked fish with bruschetta, anchovy and lemon wedges. After this delicious appetizer we felt full but we couldn’t resist the temptation of the main course. I assume you won’t beat the melting taste and velvety texture of the melt-in-the mouth ingredients whether of this hors d’oeuvre or of those of Filini’ signature dish “Grilled Lamb Chops”; I have never ever savored the rich, tender, beefy flavor of a lamb meat before.
    It was served medium rare and no mint jelly allowed; you are missing what I consider to be the best piece of red meat ever. This meal let me believe this previously read “If you love beef and don’t love lamb, then you’ve never had it cooked properly”. We, also, opted for Tagliatelle Puttanesca; very yummy pasta tossed with a flavorsome tomato, caper, olive and anchovy sauce.
    Yet, if you are a pizza traditionalist, you’ll find what you are looking for; they serve the typical Italian pizzas starting from the Quattro Formagi to the Frutti Di Mari’s one. We would also love to try the Chocolate Fondant with pistachio ice cream or Filini Tiramisu but, since the servings were generously proportioned, we hadn’t any empty room for anything else. Overall, the dinner spelt pure mamma mia! We had a delicious and delightful dinner this night; our dishes were scraped clean! It’s a real home to a gem of Italian food at reasonable prices for a hotel restaurant. Filini, which serves daily from 6 pm to midnight, appease even the most demanding. The food itself shows plenty of flair the kitchen, combining fresh and colorful food in simple way to preserve the ingredients identity.
    If you wish having an enjoyable pleasant dining experience in a warm a swagger ambience, don’t miss out this opportunity but don’t forget to save a room for the desert.

    For further information, please contact

    Nevine Nader, Director of Public Relations & Communication
    +202 26965656, nevine.nader@radissonblu.com
    or visit www.radissonblu.com