The serene outdoor terrace at Kiku restaurant, Le Meridien Dubai. The serene outdoor terrace at Kiku restaurant, Le Meridien Dubai.

Further afield
Outside of the UAE, some prominent Japanese restaurant chefs are frustrated by the lack of ingredient supply.

“In Egypt we don’t have too many Japanese suppliers – there are only two companies and some individuals who work as a suppliers,” says Hassan Saeed, restaurant manager of Sakura Sushi in Cairo. So it’s a good thing customers are asking for very simple sushi: “they don’t like strong flavours or sauces that some of the chefs add”, says Hassan. “Most people just want nigiri, sashimi and rolls.”

Although, this is not the case in Saudi Arabia, where Mohamed Benamar, general manager at Radisson Blu Riyadh, says they have no difficulties with supply, and the Shogun restaurant does a healthy 1600 covers a month, mainly from non-hotel guests.

“The Japanese cuisine scene in Riyadh has became popular due to a hike in quality, and the fact that it’s a healthy, trendy food. Although guests want to have quick service delivery, we find they are more inclined to relax in the restaurant while enjoying the interactions and entertainment here.”

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