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Food

Matagi evening brunch review

Words by Nathan Irvine

The Pan-Asian gem at Emerald Palace Kempinsky.

An evening brunch menu should be two things: short and packed with tasty dishes. After a long day of work, the last thing you want to do is force your frazzled brain to make even more decisions before bedtime. So it’s great that Matagi hits the sweet spot in this department.

Seven delicious dishes from starters to desserts take the stress out of things at this Pan-Asian restaurant.

We ventured up to the restaurant at the tail-end of Ramadan so it’s predictably quiet. However, we’re at that age now where less crowds equates to a more enjoyable evening, so this is ideal.

You can see the chefs in the restaurant’s open kitchen cooking up a storm. Flames from the grill lick the air as the smell of charred beef tickles the nostrils.

Drinks were served and quickly followed by starters of seaweed salad and roasted sesame seeds, and a colourful sashimi and Maki platter starter.

Dumpling delight

Although the salad was unremarkable, and fairly bland, the other starter was a triumph.

The salmon and Hamachi rolls were delightful, but it’s the spicy crab Maki that grabbed our attention. Slightly hot, as the name suggest, it had the perfect balance of flavours to with every bite.

Chicken thighs Yakatori and foie gras wagyu gyoza were next up. What’s evident across both dishes is that the talented chefs are at the top of their game when it comes to meat.

The juicy chicken peeled off the bone perfectly and pairs well with the Yakatori sauce and crispy garlic it’s served with.

And the gyoza? You’ll definitely want to order another helping. The dumplings packed with a heady mix of rich foie gras and shredded beef are the stars of the menu.

It’s another helping of wagyu for mains as a huge rib-eye is cooked to order and arrives with smashed potatoes. While the food is, again, top notch – especially that cut of prime beef – it’s a heavy dish that will leave you feeling sleepy. Those dancing shoes might not get a run out once you’ve finished up at Matagi.

It’s a good job then that the desserts are a light cheesecake and coconut sorbet. Anything heavier would’ve seen us asleep in our chairs before the bill arrived.

Matagi’s short, sharp menu strikes all the right notes, and the venue lends itself to creating a romantic atmosphere. We’ll definitely venture back up there again soon.

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