DIFC is always a favourite dining destination, but in general, a highly competitive location to open a successful restaurant. So, what does new to the market Clap have to offer? We stopped in to see.
Hailing from Beirut, the Japanese inspired restaurant can be found in Gate Village 11, directly above Shanghai Me. The entrance to Clap is separate, with a private dedicated lift to whisk visitors up to the largest rooftop in DIFC. Once inside, guests are greeted with stunning views of the surrounding skyscrapers – including the Burj Khalifa on one side and the iconic Emirates Towers on the other. Broken into three distinct spaces, Clap consists of a dining room and terrace, a lounge, and an interior bar, Ongaku. The large space can accommodate up to 300 guests under current social distancing regulations. The interior has elements of traditional Japanese culture, while remaining contemporary in design, menu, and overall vision. There is eclectic decor throughout, including a chandelier made from 2,100 toys hanging in the reception area and a conveyor belt of assorted toys also journeys around the bar area, causing guests to look up as the interior impresses with soaring ceilings.
Taking a seat on the dining room patio, we’re treated to birds-eye views of DIFC, it would be well worth a visit for a date night or anniversary. Also, we’re not going to lie; the menu is impressive and perhaps even a bit overwhelming. There should be something for every taste, which is what makes our decisions difficult. Similarly, the beverage menu is broken down into several innovative concoctions.
Given the 141 different dishes (!), we speak with our waitress to explain some of our favourite proteins, and she builds a menu around our preferences. We begin with Padron Peppers, which are beautifully presented with sweet honey miso sauce and sesame seeds. Honestly, we think this is our favourite version in Dubai, and the size of the peppers is worth noting. Served along with this dish is a bite from the crispy rice menu, the Salmon Masago, one we would definitely order again. The Seabass Ceviche is a hit with my dining partner, who loves the mix of coconut milk, mango, amazu, red onion and coriander. We’re also given a Scallop Sashimi, which arrives with avocado purée, basil, lime and yuzu sakura mix. We could use just a bit more salt with the sashimi, but otherwise, it’s a dish we would happily order again.
We move onto other starters, including a stunning platter of Toro, which is flavoured with black truffle oil, yuzu soy, ginger, chives and sesame. Given that some restaurants overwhelm dishes with truffle oil, I respect that Clap goes with a more subtle approach. Served up on a large plate, we receive Scallops and Foie Gras, which are served with mixed berries, vanilla miso sauce and unagi sauce. The combination of flavours is impressive, and we’re still considering if the pairing works. Perhaps we’ll have to come back and try again. While there is a lot of gyoza available in Dubai, this Wagyu and Foie Gras version includes another exciting flavour combination – this time in the form of dashi parmesan cream and spicy ponzu. It’s a bit of luxe all rolled into one delicious bite.
Although we’re nearing capacity, the restaurant sends a platter of sushi, including some of their signature rolls, the Crazy California as well as the sublime Japanese Wagyu Beef nigiri. For a main, we’re given one of the Dubai classics, with a twist, Miso Black Cod Provencal. While we’re always fans of the dish, we can’t help but compare it to certain other neighbours in the area. It’s a competitive dish, and this one doesn’t quite live up to others we’ve tried previously. For dessert, we finish with the Clap Hot Chocolate Cake, which is served with date ice cream, and is quite honestly, perfectly portioned.
While our meal sounds (and was) a lot of food, there are whole sections of the Clap menu we didn’t get to try. For those planning a visit, perhaps it’s best to try and few things and then plan for a return (as we plan on doing in the near future).
For those interested in more plant-based options, Clap’s menu also clearly features a vegetarian and vegan-friendly menu with cold and hot starters.
Overall, we’re impressed by the service, vibe, and atmosphere. For long-time fans of Zuma, Clap might be a new experience to tempt you away, or at least give you something new to try. Reservations seem essential at this point, so call ahead to avoid any disappointment.
Padron Peppers, AED 37
Salmon Masago, AED 39
Seabass Ceviche, AED 92
Scallop Sashimi, AED 88
Toro, AED 125
Scallops and Foie Gras, AED 145
Wagyu and Foie Gras Gyoza, AED 115
Miso Black Cod Provencal, AED 180
Clap Hot Chocolate Cake, AED 45
Clap, Level 9, Gate Village 11, DIFC, Dubai, +971 4 569 3820