Situated inside The Oberoi in Dubai’s Business Bay district, Waka serves up an infectious taste of Latin America with a Japanese twist.
The South American vibe begins as soon as you enter the restaurant, which is designed with all the colour and vivaciousness associated with the region. Latin beats fill the air and striking artwork adorns the walls amid the dim lit ambience, setting the tone for what is come.
The restaurant’s name derives from the South American word ‘huaca’ which means something that is blessed and the menu which has been created by Executive Chef Roberto Segura is heavenly indeed.
We opted for the set menu in order to get a good overview of the different dishes on offer, kicking things off in classic South American style with some delicious and unusual smoked guacamole. It was literally smoking, with plumes coming off the granite dish! From there, the explosion of inventive flavours began in earnest. There was Carne Y Trufa which was small strips of wagyu beef carpaccio with a quinoa crumb crust, lime, truffle, togarashi (Japanese spice) and soy sauce. Tasty does not cover it. Alongside this gem of a dish was the equally delectable Del Mercado – a sea bass ceviche served with crispy calamari, sweet potato and Aji Amarillo (South American chilli). So delicious was the citrus sauce that the Del Mercado was doused in, that the waiter advised us to eat it from a small dish with a teaspoon so that we would not waste any.
Onto the mains, and they certainly had a tough act to follow. First to arrive was Black Angus Tenderloin in a Peruvian chilli and beer marinade, with roast potatoes, choclo (a Peruvian corn) and spicy rocoto dip. Our attention was well and truly grabbed. Next up was Arroz Con Pato, which brought the Asian influence to the forefront with duck accompanied by orange glazed broad beans and coriander rice. Our personal favourite was the Truffle Quinoa Risotto with wild mushrooms. We’d never seen or heard of risotto made from quinoa before but it proved to be revelation. The truffle came through really strongly on this one so only order it if that floats your boat!
For dessert, despite feeling rather full at this point, we devoured the Chocolate Spice Fondant, which was made with 70% Peruvian cacao, accompanied by rocoto and passion fruit sorbet.
It’s worth noting that a lady on the table next to us was celebrating her birthday and the serving staff presented her with the greatest ‘cake’ I’ve ever seen. It was a chocolate bomb – a huge round ball of chocolate that when smashed open, revealed a fine mess of lime and raspberry sorbet, meringues and brownies. We know where we’re going on our next birthday!
Vegetarians will also love Waka as they have a special ‘Harvest Menu’ with an array of tasty options including the aforementioned Truffle Quinoa Risotto, Mushroom Ceviche, Spicy Corn Empanadas and Portobello Anticucho while sushi lovers should head down for Maki Mondays – an unlimited selection of creatively created maki rolls.
Where: The Oberoi, Dubai (Lobby level)
Phone: + 971 (0) 4 444 1455