Nikkei restaurant Kayto a permanent addition to Jumeirah Al Nasseem

Published: 12 June 2020 - 3:15 a.m.
By: Simon Ritchie
When is a pop-up not a pop-up? When Michael Ellis says so.

After a successful six-month stint at Jumeirah Al Nasseem, Peruvian-Japanese restaurant Kayto has been given a permanent stay of execution by Jumeirah’s culinary supremo.

“Given Kayto’s popularity it is now here to stay,” Ellis told Caterer Middle East.

“It’s one of the first restaurants we re-opened following the easing of restrictions, in line with the directives from the Ministry of Health and the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA).

“As elevated dining forms one of our three key pillars, we will continue to invest efforts into ensuring that diners can enjoy the offerings of signature venues such as Kayto, while adhering to the nationally advised maximum capacity and social distancing advisories, prioritising guest and employee wellbeing.”

The former Michelin head honcho knows a good dish when he sees it, and he’s clearly been impressed by the offerings at the Nikkei outlet, calling the chef’s output “outstanding” and saying it has attracted a “great mix” of both hotel and external customers.

Ellis said: “No doubt chef Christian Goya’s dishes such as salmon tataki with miso karashi sauce, rock shrimp tempura with creamy spiced sauce, and his signature saikyo miso black cod amongst other unique offerings have won a huge following. The unique blend of inspiration stems from chef Christian’s heritage and culinary expertise, which shines through in the dishes and is clearly appreciated by diners.”

So the pop-up is now officially here to stay. Perhaps taking a chance on an untested formula under the guise of a pop-up is a good way to market test it without the ignominy of closing a permanent venue?

Certainly, this is a gamble that has paid off for Jumeirah, and Ellis seems open to trying the experiment again.

He said: “It is ultimately up to the restaurateur to decide on the longevity of a concept in Dubai or anywhere else for that matter. Given the vastness and diversity of Dubai’s dining scene I definitely think a pop-up is a great way to see if a concept will be popular before going all in and investing in a full-time team and bricks and mortar.”

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