It’s no secret that we are huge fans of Moshi, the sushi fusion restaurant that launched itself upon the unsuspecting Dubai dining scene this time last year. We have catalogued our adventures with Moshi before, but with a new store and a new summer menu, we couldn’t wait to sip, dip and roll all over again.
The concept remains the same, a combination of Nepalese Momo’s and Japanese Sushi but the introduction of a menu provides a some new surprises, alongside old favourites. The new store in Oud Metha is a light and vibrant space, keeping the orange and black colour scheme that is now synonymous with the Moshi brand. While the store in Barsha 1 is a small and often claustraphibc space, this new location has plenty of room and some snazzy new decor to go with it. The back wall is hung with plates depicting famous landmarks from… you guessed it Nepal, Japan and of course Dubai. The dining area is separated from the entrance by some funky bamboo dividers which enhance the semi-Asian theme, alongside a wall of padlocks upon which guests can leave messages. It’s amazing to see how far Moshi has come in just twelve short months – the little store that could, if you will.
We attended a media preview the night before the summer menu launched onto the public last Thursday (26th May). With thirteen new dishes and two additional beverages, it seems very likely that some of these will become permanent fixtures on the Moshi menu once summer is over.
The concept remains unchanged, a fusion of Nepalese Momo’s and Japanese Sushi. Though these are not your standard maki, nigiri and sashimi. Instead, Rahul Sajnani the founder and CEO of Moshi wanted to dispel the myth of sushi being an acquired taste and only for lovers of seafood:
“I wanted to change the myth of sushi being raw. People who shied away from sushi for years are now sushi-lovers. The smile people give when they try our sushi and momos for the ﬁrst time is something I love. When I see them return, I know they are truly hooked and are turning into Moshians” – Raul Sajnani (aka. Mr. Moshi)
This sound bit immediately rings true, as only one of the new dishes contained seafood and that is the small piece of shrimp that sits on top of the volcano roll. All other items revolve around chicken and vegetarian friendly options and did we mention how reasonably priced everything is?
The first new items to sample were the beverages. Strawberry mojitos came in light bulbs, an inventive take on presentation, though one that the Dubai health authority are trying to clamp down on (understandably they don’t want children copying the fad and chomping down on actual light bulbs!) We personally found the presentation to be a welcome change from the standard mason jar and the fruity blend of strawberry muddled with mint was refreshing. Additionally we appreciated the rough nature of the blend with chunky chopped strawberries and hastily torn mint leaves.
We have catalogued our love of all things lotus numerous times on this blog and once again we have fallen in love with another iteration of this sweet biscuity goodness. The lotus milkshake at Moshi is divine, to the point that we had four of them during a two hour tasting! Greedy perhaps… but so worth it. The blend of caramelised biscuit with frothy milk, complete with a sprinkling of sweet and crunchy crumb on top is like nothing else.
The food at Moshi is most definitely fusion and may have sushi aficionados turning their noses up at the commonality of the concept. The idea of putting potato chips onto sushi may be seen as sacrilege, but despite the bizarreness of proceedings, some of these dishes work remarkably well. The team at Moshi should be applauded for their reinvention of the Japanese cuisine, substituting items like seaweed for lettuce (making them healthier too) and proudly not using any MSG in their food.
Sushi Burgers have become all the rage on the Dubai dining scene and Moshi make an admirable attempt at creating their own version. The salmon filling is replaced with a crisp and crunchy chicken, that is well seasoned and a nice golden colour. Mixed with a light mayonnaise based sauce and crunchy lettuce, the only element that lets it down is the rice bun, which immediately collapsed upon consumption.
Another interesting item was the Dhokla Maki. Taking inspiration from Gujarati cuisine, the roll contained the pulse-based vegetarian food item made from rice and split chickpeas. The very notion of combining this Indian food staple with the Japanese art of sushi, is what fusion is all about and went down very well with the bloggers present.
Mr. Moshi himself was our host for the evening and as the founder of the brand and the creator of the recipes, we were delighted to have him guide us through the various dishes and the conception behind them. As a charismatic personality who spoke passionately about the food, his favourite new item is the Volcano Roll, an interesting maki that is topped with crisp battered shrimp pieces and a heated volcano sauce.
Flaming’ Chicken Cheetos were the unanimous winner of the night. With Moshi once again taking a beloved snack food, in this case flaming hot Cheetos potato chips, and combined them with sushi to create a unique fusion. On paper the idea should not work, yet in practice the crunchy chilli from the Cheetos is the perfect contrast to the cool white rice and delightful chicken bites. This is hands down the best item on the summer menu.
With an abundance of sushi, the summer menu does feature a number of other items. Edamame is presented in a wooden steam basket (normally associated with dim sum), the vibrancy of the shelled green edamame is broken up with splashes of orange Sriracha sauce. A hot sauce originating from the Eastern coast of Thailand and made from chilli paste, vinegar and garlic. Those who are not fans of spicy food, should give this one a miss as it really packs a punch.
One of our few disappointments was the fact that Moshi have only added one additional momo dish to their menu. With it being so difficult to get authentic Nepalese momos in Dubai (and Moshi are one of the few venues that offer them), we were astounded as to why they are not being pushed as hard as the sushi. The half steamed, half fried pouches of edamame and mushroom are well up their with the momos that we sampled when travelling through Kathmandu last spring.
The only item that we didn’t connect with was the falafel nigiri. An inventive combination of Arabic and Japanese that is just perfect for Ramadan. For us though, it failed slightly in execution with the chickpea based falafel being way to dry and eaten in addition to rice, became very dense.
An Arabic influenced dish that did work exceptionally well was the ‘Zaatar and Labneh sushi.’ The combination of dried thyme, sesame seeds, sumac and salt is perfectly complemented by the light and fresh labneh yogurt. Who knew that Arabic and Japanese cuisines could be combined with such success?
Anyone who has been to Moshi will tell you that the standout item is the ‘Cheesy Chips Oman Sushi.’ Rolled in potato chips (or crisps as we like to call them in the UK), it’s a fantastic mix of cheese and chicken with a nice crunchy exterior. The dishes popularity of has led to its inclusion on the summer menu.
The final dish served was another returning favourite. The Nutella Maki is a unique idea that rolls crepes with nutella to give the appearance of maki rolls. A perfect combination of pancakes and chocolate that will please lovers of desserts.
Not often is a restaurant able to dazzle and impress us a second time round, yet Moshi has pulled off a remarkable accomplishment. On the whole, their new summer menu is a resounding success and foodies throughout the UAE will be Instagramming photos of the flamin’ chicken cheetos for the foreseeable future. With such affordability and invention, we expect to see further Moshi outlets popping up as their success continues. We only wish for an outlet in Abu Dhabi, but for now, we are well and truly recruited into the army of Moshians.
Location: Shop 5-6, Oud Metha Building, Near Lamcy Plaza, Oud Metha, Dubai
Hours: 11am – midnight
Phone: 04 275 9056
We were invited to dine at Moshi but all views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE unless otherwise stated. Interior photos used courtesy of Moshi.
Read more of Out & About UAE’s adventures with Moshi: Momo’s and sushi at Moshi