Oliver Maki, the Japanese-style restaurant group based in the Middle East, is to open its first site in the UK in February 2016.
The 55-cover venue will open at 33 Dean Street in London's Soho, with Japanese-born executive head chef Louis Kenji Huang (formerly head sushi chef at Nobu Las Vegas) in the kitchen, and co-founder Oliver Zeitoun's 24-year-old daughter as marketing and operations director.
The new site will serve the group's usual dishes, which combine Japanese traditional techniques with global flavours and textures. London was reportedly chosen for the new outpost thanks to "its outstanding and innovative reputation as a culinary crossroads".
Food-wise, the signature dish will be the Oliver Maki Roll, which contains over 30 ingredients and is actually eight rolls in one, with eight toppings including a house-made kizami wasabi, pico de gallo, and chilli mustard. It requires nine different cooking techniques, such as fresh seaweed cooking and marinating, and is designed to showcase the skill of the chefs.
Another signature dish will be the Fusion Temaki created by Zietoun, which replaces the traditional temaki by replacing rice with tempura shrimp, vegetables and crabsticks, and also uses white soya bean paper as a wrap instead of the usual seaweed.
Restaurant regulars will also be invited to create their own maki rolls with the chefs, some of which will appear on the menu named after the customer, allowing them to order their own creations.
There will also be a six-seat bar serving sake, wine, and cocktails.
Launched in Kuwait in 2004 by Canadian-Lebanese brothers Oliver and Amer Zeitoun, the group now has four sites in the Middle East, including four in Kuwait and one in Bahrain.
Oliver has also eaten in one of the Oliver Maki branches every single day for the past decade, sometimes visiting twice in one day.
Always popular, Japanese food has experienced somewhat of an on-going revival in the capital of late, with recent openings in London including Wazen in King's Cross, Tokimeit? in Mayfair, and the Muga ramen bar in the West End.
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