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Waka at the Oberoi review: Experience the best

Restaurant Review: Waka

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Opening hours:
Daily 6pm-midnight

Phone number:
04 444 1455

Only go to Waka at The Oberoi, Dubai with someone you are very comfortable with; you’ll be hunching towards each other for the entire duration of your visit. (Wear some nice perfume, you’ll thank me later.) The beats of the music being played will rush up your legs and down your ears, and conversation will be a little difficult. But what you’ll get in return is a warm smile and quick and pleasing service, and food that looks — and tastes — like art. Plus, you’ll feel like you are part of an elite vampire club.

Standing outside the green wooden door, with lion door knockers, you can’t help but feel underdressed for the experience. The hostess will whip out a list of who’s in. And if you are on that list, you’ll be let into the lounge area.

When the door opens, that’s when it’ll hit you. A fistful of sound that will wrap itself around you and stay throughout the experience.

When we went, we walked past the bar and to the restaurant area.

The menu has Peruvian, Latin American and Japanese fare, and tonight we are given a set list to be able to experience the best.

Let the mouthwatering begin. We start with the exquisite cuzco maki, which is a quinoa-coated crispy sea bass, salmon tartare roll with huancaina sauce. It’s delicious we proclaim through our sniffles — this one has a bit of a bite — like a sharp mustard, or wasabi. Sinuses cleared, we are ready to dig into our next dish: chicken yakitori skewers,

Phones out, it’s time for a photo op, this is one to savour.

The stacks of chicken, coated in sweet sauce and dotted with sesame seeds, are delicately plated on a tiny grill upon a bed of coal — edible coal that tastes like taro root.

We also get some tiradito apaltado, fish with coriander chutney, which is fusion at its best. It’s an addictive lemony heat-infused zap of flavour.

And then come the lamb chops — meaty, flavourful and cooked just right.

The arroz con pato, or confit with coriander rice, is a bit of a let down sadly — the orange hit of the dish is a mouthful of wasted time. However, another round of chicken yakitori and we are good to go. But not without a sweet goodbye. Our server brings out a plate of chocolate-coloured lollipops set on crystals of ice and proceeds to pour warm water over the display. There is smoke, which leaves the plate in undulating, hypnotic motions. Once the curtain of wisps has floated away, the chocolate is ready to be consumed. It’s got the gooey warmth of melted chocolate in a shell of crispy sweetness — and the night has been won.

Judge this book by its cover — Waka looks like the domain of an elite vampire club. The music is loud and all encompassing. But as you would expect from such as nightclub, the food satiates the eyes as much as it does the stomach.

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