First to cause excitement this week is news that two long-awaited Japanese restaurants are now open. TOMO at Raffles boasts the talents of chef Takahashi (formerly of Kisaku in Deira), pushing an authentic Japanese school of cooking. Also in Old Dubai, the Asiana Hotel welcomes Yuraku, a casual, late-night dining spot that follows the Japanese ‘izakaya’ concept, combining drinks and bar-style food. It offers a creative menu of Japanese fusion, plus an extensive selection of rice-based beverages and even a dedicated sommelier to advise guests which ones they should sample.
Also on the radar, the new branch of Trader Vic’s in Festival City has finally opened. The original opening date was scheduled for July; after waiting with bated breath, we can now sample the Polynesian-inspired mixed drinks and dishes such as raw fish salad Hawaiian ahi poke. There are also more Asian dishes on the menu, including Cantonese-style steamed sea bass and Indonesian rack of lamb. Continuing the Japanese tone for the week, this new branch of Trader Vic’s will also house a dedicated sushi counter – the first branch in the region to do so.
Elsewhere, we’re looking forward to visiting new venue The Archive: this art space-style multifunctional project follows the lead of popular destinations such as The Pavilion, Shelter and Make Business Hub. Located within Safa Park and dubbing itself a library, The Archive promotes the art and literature of the Middle East and North Africa. We’re excited by the prospect of sampling the edibles at the in-house café and espresso bar: items on the menu include home-smoked salmon sandwiches, roast beetroot and rocket salad and wagyu burgers.
Speaking of burgers, patty fans should pay a visit to new burger joint Sheikh and Shake in JLT, a home-grown, independent fast food outlet that prides itself on the quality of its ingredients, using fresh Australian beef to make its hearty patties.
Like Lebanese eats? The second Dubai branch of quirky, vintage-clad café Leila has opened in Downtown Dubai, taking a space in the new Claren building on Emaar Boulevard. It sits alongside a new BurgerFuel outlet and neighbourhood pub-style eatery Bennigan’s, which promises to offer ‘American fare with Irish hospitality’. Also in Downtown, Italian venue Caffe Vegnano has recently opened in The Dubai Mall. The chain has apparently been showing off its coffee know-how since 1882, and claims to be the oldest independent roastery in Italy.
Finally, for yet another global café, a new branch of French Bakery is due to open in Jumeirah 3, although for now dates remain unconfirmed. Until next week, bon appétit!