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Interview of Supporter Stores Niri restaurant & bar

Japanese restaurant located in an open space by the sea offering a variety of Japanese food to multinational clientele in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi / United Arab Emirates

A restaurant with Japanese-style design in harmony with its location by the sea

Niri is located in an upscale residential area by the sea, about a 15-minute drive from the central Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The restaurant has a calm atmosphere with a wooden sushi counter and wooden design shelves displaying Japanese tableware, while the beach extending just in front of the restaurant allowing diners to enjoy food with a close view of the ocean.

In the UAE, about 10% of the population are native-born while 90% are foreigners. Executive Chef Yasuyuki Takemoto has been overseeing the restaurant since its opening in July 2021, with a desire to provide a place where people of various nationalities casually enjoy quality Japanese food.

Promoting Japanese food in an open space

Due to the unique demographic composition of the country, the majority of customers who visit Niri are from the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. Takemoto explains, “The counter, which is the heart of the restaurant, is a place where customers of various nationalities can see cutting up of fish and making sushi up close, take pictures, and ask about Japanese ingredients.” Since there is no partition between the cooking area and the dining area, there is a sense of unity in the restaurant space, and customers' requests and questions can be answered immediately.

Besides Takemoto, there are two Japanese nationals working at the restaurant, but the rest of the staff are of various nationalities, including Lebanese, Indian, Myanmar, Nigerian, and Ghanaian. Not all of them are familiar with Japanese food from the start, but Takemoto explains the characteristics of Japanese ingredients, their place of origin, and other information so that the staff can answer any questions that customers may have.

New arrangements based on traditional cooking

The restaurant offers a wide range of dishes including sushi, wagyu beef, yakitori (charcoal-grilled chicken on skewer), and tempura. For sushi, young yellowtail, sea urchin, salmon roe, scallops, and alfonsin are imported by air from Japan and kept fresh by thorough ingredient management. In addition, ingredients such as myoga, Japanese honewort, perilla leaves, and wasabi (Japanese horseradish) are imported from Japan. Sliced ginger pickled in sweet vinegar (gari) is always a favorite of local people, but myoga, called Japanese ginger with its distinctive bitterness, is also popular when pickled in sweet vinegar. Squid nigiri sushi seasoned with a pinch of salt and lemon juice is also familiar, but in addition to traditional cooking method, the chef adjusts the flavor from time to time to suit the multinational clientele checking their reaction to the new seasonings. That is Takemoto’s style.

Enjoying Japanese food for various occasions

The restaurant has a bar counter adjacent to the sushi counter serving sake, Japanese whiskey, shochu, and beer.

Shochu is mainly for Japanese customers, but sake is very popular among foreign customers, with more orders coming in than wine.

Takemoto plans to increase seats in the open space along the beach from November onward when the outdoor heat eases. He said he wants customers to freely choose their seat and enjoy Japanese food, depending on their mood of the day, from inside the restaurant with an atmosphere of a Japanese-style pub to the open space in front of the ocean.

List of shops

Niri restaurant & bar
Mamsha Al Saadiyat - Al Saadiyat Island - Abu Dhabi
+971 2 546 8886 site: a new window will open. site: a new window will open.