While I was preparing the kids for bed last Monday, I realized, it’s been exactly seven years since we landed in Dubai! How did I miss to mark this milestone? We used to celebrate every year of our “Dubai birthday” but this year just slipped.

I called the husband who was still at work and he has forgotten about it too. He wanted to make up and called me yesterday on his day off, “let’s have dinner out tonight!” I said yes and he asked, “just the two of us or everyone in?” I paused…it’s our family’s Dubai birthday so we should all celebrate it.

All of us, including this guy.


The very mobile toddler you can’t take a decent photo of. I already doubted that it might be a crazy idea.

I was wrong. It wasn’t a crazy idea – it was an insane idea!

We went to this new Japanese restaurant called Sake no Hana in Souk Al Bahar. The husband was curious and wanted to try it. As soon as we got in, I knew it would be trouble.

Sake no Hana is a lounge-club type rather than my expectation of something like a posh-y Japanese restaurant still child friendly like Tomo restaurant at Raffles. Obviously, I haven’t read the online reviews. Sake no Hana is a high-end Japanese restaurant meant to rival Okku or Zuma..both venues I have not been to (and not planning to go in the near future – I am happy with more commoner friendly Bentoya or Fujiya Restaurant: great Japanese food that don’t require me to auction off one of my children).

sakenohana food

The food was expensive for what it is. I didn’t want to know how much we paid for it, especially we even had two bottles of Evian. No local water available too so, boo.

The expensive main dish (160dhs for 2 slices of gindara fish, seriously?) did not even include rice or miso soup. Hello? Ever heard of teishoku? In Japan, most main dishes will have rice and miso soup at least. So disappointing. Also, I didn’t understand why it took such a long time to bring in the sushi platter we ordered. How is it possible to take time to prepare sushi? I mean, there’s no cooking involved! (Plus there were no other guests than us!)

If not for the name of the restaurant and without looking at the menu, you would never guess Japanese food is served there. The interior design is very swanky and one of those places where the hostesses look like models and walk around posing and doing nothing.  I expected some Japanese waitresses but no, there were plenty of Western ladies (or Eastern European?)  looking like live mannequins clad in super sexy backless, long feathery train dresses and platform heels. I had a hard time explaining to my ten year old how these sexy ladies are related to Japanese food…

sakenohana food

The food was good but not great – I still think the dashi in agedashi tofu and the dip for tempura was too light for my taste and the portions were small. The edamame portion was ridiculous for the price but I should remember we are paying a big portion for the location rather than the food itself – hate that.

Needless to say, this was not a restaurant you should take a small child with you. Big mistake. There was no one on the dining section except us (there are two sections, the normal dining and the lounge with faceless mannequins. Weird) but we still felt very uncomfortable that Benjamin was talking so loud, giggling or running around, wanting to go to the lounge…where we were told, “no kids allowed”.

Benjamin got really excited – what can you expect from a two year old who rarely goes out of the house? Sitting was the last thing in his mind. He ran here and there, wanted to touch each and everything and even rolled on the floor so he can see the lights on the ceiling or just simply want to feel like at home, gosh. He wouldn’t even eat properly, just kept on wriggling away.

Long story short, I never got to enjoy the darn expensive food. What a shame. And our lesson learned is, never ever take a two year old boy on a fine dining type of restaurant – what were we thinking?!

Top photo credit


  1. You know Grace most Japanese restaurant here in Dubai the main menu doesnt come with rice and we are oblige to get it seperately same thing happened to us at Umi Sushi the other day a little bit bizzare but thats how it is here, sad 😦

    By the way, Benjamin running here and there is normal my two year old girl is doing the same thing I think it’s the “no sit down quietly part “of their growing up phase…we have to be on alert all the time means no peace and quiet meals hehehe But anyhow, I’m sure we are enjoying their zest of excitement during these discovering phase in our LO ‘s life 🙂
    Happy 7 to you Grace and family!



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