Peruvian food has recently become one of Dubai’s most popular food trends and Aji stands out as one of the top at serving up great tasting Nikkei-style food at a reasonable price.
Two years in, and the waterside Japanese-Peruvian fusion manages to stay super fresh and as good as when its doors first opened two Novembers ago. Before I jump into the food, one of the things I love about Aji is its location at Club Vista Mare. Because of its proximity to the beach, even in summer months, the venue is breezy and perhaps a degree or two cooler than the inner city spots. Although Aji is one of eight restaurants located on the pier, it was top of mind for me, as I was getting ready to tuck into their Peruvian Independence day menu and then some.
To pay homage to this important day, Aji was offering a special a la carte menu for a limited time. And it is good. I loved every single bite of the food. It’s a cross-pollination between Peruvian and Japanese cuisine, which is one of the most popular tastes of 21st century gastronomy. It also helped that I am someone who is very into raw food. While most normal people crave burgers and pasta, my taste buds ache for Ceviche and Tiraditos. At Aji, I found that local Peruvian dishes have been transformed using Japanese flavours and techniques. The special menu is refined with a selection of Peruvian favourites with Nikkei influences, including futomakis, nigiri and causas.
For mains, we chose a soft lamb shank, served with chickpeas puree and coriander sauce. Another authentic dish on the menu is the chupe meloso rice, mixed with seafood, mozzarella, Peruvian corn, loche pumpkin and the traditional chalaquita salsa.
Other signature dishes that I tried were the black truffle sushi, the sea bass Ceviche and the salmon Tiradito. Another standout dish included the Lomo Saltado Gyoza, a steamed dumpling made with beef sirloin and Ají Amarillo and caramelised onions.
My favourite item was the tuna tacos, so much so that I asked my dining buddy if I could also eat hers. Basically, I ate (hoovered) the entire platter of raw offerings. I am definitely an appetiser girl. The mains at Aji were filling and flavourful, but a small part of me wanted to keep eating sushi.
Dessert was a platter of different items. I particularly ventured to the chocolate fondant cake with matcha infused ice cream. A combination that is to die for, especially to an enthusiastic matcha fan as myself.
The dessert flavour combinations were more Japanese than Peruvian and were fresh with a punch.
Aji’s special Peruvian Independence Day menu is available until August 4. Items range between Dh30 to Dh185.
Location: Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah Dubai
Timings: Weekdays from 12pm to 12am, open until 3am on weekends.