It was my birthday! My birthday present – I could choose wherever I wanted to eat.

What better way to celebrate getting a year older than by dining at Restaurant Reif Kushiyaki – a Chef I have admired and whose food I have enjoyed without knowing (at Zuma).

I have followed (more strongly put, I could say ‘stalked’) Chef Reif Othman journey from Zuma to the homegrown concept Play and finally at the Billionaire Mansion. Of this list, I have dined at only Zuma. So this was going to be an exciting ‘tick box’ restaurant dining experience for me.

This self-titled restaurant is a simple 29 seater unlicensed venue at Dar Wasl Mall with no reservation requests taken (although as I type this, I visit the restaurant website only to find that they have a ‘reservation’ tab). The décor is simple with some Astro Boy manga artwork on one of the walls. It’s a hustle when we arrive and we have to wait for a table (as I had expected).


The table are quite closely packed, although you have an option of sitting at the counter around the central glass-fronted kitchen offering a glimpse at the Chefs at work. I loved the drawers at the table which opened to reveal our menus and cutlery. On our paper menus we had to tick off our choices – the only question I had was – how much is too much 😊

Since the focus is on kushiyaki (traditional Japanese meat and poultry skewers) we ordered those as well as a few other sharing

Chicken skewers (kushi) in teriyaki sauce


Rock Shrimps


Raw Wagyu in sweet chilli soy and lotus chips


Chicken Gyoza in yuzu jelly and crispy skin


Spicy Salmon Gunkan


For our mains, we went completely different but both of us believed we had chosen well.

I had the Reif Chicken Rice – steamed chicken, pak choy and chilli sauce. It is a popular Singaporean dish of steamed chicken, pack chow and the most amazing chilli sauce. If I went by just how it looked, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to finish it. But I was so so so wrong. I scraped every morsel off that plate and I have to give a special shout out to the addictive taste of the chilli sauce.


Angus Beef Clay Pot – I was allowed to have a spoonful and it was good – this one too was cleaned up well.


We declined dessert and as I was leaving I asked the server to ask if Reif would take a photo with me – and she politely declined saying he was too busy in the kitchen. That was not the note I wanted to end my night on – but that is where it did.

As we left we saw all the waiting seats taken up by those patiently waiting for a table and honestly their wait will be worth it. The food was superb, the service great and except for my short-lived disappointment at the end – it was an experience I was glad I had as I turned one year older.

Location: Restaurant Reif Kushiyaki, Dar Wasl Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai Telephone: +971 4 345 0761 Open from 12 noon – 11 PM (Saturday to Wednesday) and from 12 noon – 12 midnight (Thursday – Friday)

NOTE: I ate at Restaurant Reif Kushiyaki on my OWN time and money! The views and opinions expressed on this blog are truly my OWN.