This is one of our favourite restaurants, and we were excited to see how Netsu would manage with the new safety measures. Would the new social distancing mandate affect the theatrical and fun atmosphere that the Japanese steakhouse is renowned for?
We start the evening by self-parking in the Mandarin Oriental’s underground carpark, where you’re greeted by friendly staff in masks and gloves, with sanitiser and temperature check devices as soon as you step out of your car. They then direct you to the lifts up to the lobby. When you arrive at the restaurant itself, you’re given a further temp check and more sanitiser in case you’ve touched anything on the way – they’re taking no chances here.
Once seated, the waiter explains that company policy is that you pour your own water from the bottle we’ve ordered and the same goes for the carafe of sake we order later on. There’s also a large Netsu branded sanitiser dispenser on every single table and you’re encouraged to use it throughout.
Formalities done and we’re ready to enjoy the experience that is Netsu, the open plan kitchen is home to the largest warayaki grill outside of Japan and as rice straw is thrown onto it’s pit (where temperatures can reach 900 degrees celsius) huge flames dance above it and the restaurant fills with the smokey aroma of the cooking meats.
We opt for the signature sharing menu which starts with the tender Korean fried chicken in spicy sour source, yellowtail tiradito, an extravagant display of seasonal sashimi and maki, followed by assorted tempura, wagyu beef and sweet potato gyoza and a delectably smokey eggplant dish that’s one of the standout plates of the night.
Mains are the spicy miso Chilean seabass, so delicate it falls apart at the touch of the fork and a luscious wagyu beef short rib. We’re full to bursting but not the type to turn down dessert – just as well, as the platter of mango and strawberry sorbets, tropical fruits imported directly from Japan, stunning traditional mochi ice creams and the succulent chocolate fondant cake and ice cream are the ultimate treat. At just AED490 per head, this huge menu of food is a steal, Netsu also remains as charming as ever – making you almost forget that there’s a pandemic going on outside.
Tomato Salade – with Shiso Dressing
Wagyu Beef Short Rib
Wagyu Beef Tataki