Review: Myazu, an atmospheric contemporary Japanese restaurant on Sulaimaniyah
Myazu has a buzzy ambience and some excellent food just waiting for your attention…
It’s a classic romance: Riyadh and Japanese cuisine is a long-time love not faltered. And hopefully will never. Which also makes news of Myazu’s opening in the city’s Japanese dining scene certainly celebrated.
Only six months young, the restaurant on Sulaimaniyah Road is a delectable haven of familiar Japanese fare cooked up in a contemporary twist.
Welcome to the world of Myazu
It’s a sultry Tuesday night, and it seems as if a sizeable portion of Riyadh’s beautiful people have been corralled into one place… Myazu.
From the minute you walk in, it feels inviting, alluring, and is tinkered with intrigue. Already, it seems to be firmly established as the place to see and be seen.
Earthy and neutral tones are offset against the rich hues of blues and golds. With space for about 200 diners and different seating areas to suit one’s mood, it is undoubtedly impressive. The open kitchen, housing a robata grill and sushi counter with wrap-around counter seating, is the focal point of the restaurant.
We’re ushered to our booth seating. Dim lighting and clubby background beats bring the atmosphere down to a pleasant murmur and allow the superb plates of food coming out to do most of the talking.
Traditional techniques, modern masterpieces
At the heart of its food is chef director Ian Pengelley, a name that has made a significant contribution to the popularisation of Pan-Asian food in Britain.
Working alongside executive chef Barry Andrews, the menu they’ve concocted is as tantalising as the décor.
From an extensive list of sharing starters, we start off with the Myazu fries (fried tempura green beans with wasabi salt) and marinated yellowtail sashimi. Both are strong palate openers.
The latter, a classic Japanese serve, hit expectations and more: freshly chilled in paper-thin slices, neatly arranged with bell pepper salsa and sliced green chilli on top, and finished with shiso ponzu dressing.
The salmon sashimi new style is then brought to our table, followed by black cod and tiger prawn gyoza, and scallop and foie gras dumplings. Each plate is a delicate symphony of fresh ingredients in bite-size portions that give us just enough to yearn for more.
The salmon sashimi is a straightforward story. It features delicate chunks of fresh salmon languishing in a pool of yuzu soy and hot sesame oil and packs light flavours.
Meanwhile, the dumplings are marvellously devourable. The black cod and tiger prawn gyoza with yuzu truffle dressing is finished within seconds.
The pan-fried scallop and prawn dumplings topped with foie gras is a delectable creation. It’s incredibly fragile and a delight to eat, bursting at the bite with a pop of umami from the foie gras.
Chef Pengelley’s signature crispy duck watermelon salad is unmissable. While the meat is tender and delicious in itself, the cashew nuts and watermelon add an extra dimension to a seemingly simple dish. It’s sweet, crispy, juicy, and delightfully refreshing, as you can imagine.
The next dish is a crowd-pleaser – Chilean seabass with spiced rice. The texture and flavour of the orange miso glazed fillet are sublime, pairing well with the saffron rice.
Superb too is the mushroom Takikomi-Gohan, rice cooked in a clay pot with Japanese sauteed mushrooms. The best bits? The crunchy shards of rice scraped from the bottom of the claypot.
But if we have to name a single rockstar on the menu, it will be the Myazu new style maki rolls.
The plate is draped with a wisp of edible art – a selection of spicy tuna, yellowtail truffle and yuzu salmon sushi wrapped with a thin layer of daikon (radish) instead of nori (seaweed), adding a surprising and satisfying textural element. We realise we are inadvertently closing our eyes at each exquisite mouthful.
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It’s also pleasing to know that beverages here at Myazu are not relegated to second fiddle but rather a first-chair companion to the innovative menu. The well-shaken concoctions are exciting creations with just as exciting narratives, so be sure to consume them freely throughout the meal.
Memorable dining experience
Myazu is a striking restaurant with a stunning bill of fare and a buzzy ambience.
Everything here is crafted with skill and talent, and revealing these dishes feels like shouting out spoilers. The service is spotless, swift with just the right tinge of affability to not infringe on your personal space, and you’re impeccably well-looked after.
If you’re one of the beautiful people, you’d know this, of course. If not, what are you waiting for?
Myazu Riyadh, Musad Bin Jalawi, As Sulaimaniyah, Riyadh 12244, daily 1.30pm to 1.30am. Tel: 9200 09686. @myazusaudi