Kinoya may be barely 11 months old, but the effect it has had on the Dubai dining scene in its fledgling stage has been profound. Where high-end luxury proliferates at many restaurants and hotels across the city, Kinoya offers a refreshing riposte. Established as an authentic, relaxed izakaya in pared-back but well-considered setting, the focus is on the food and atmosphere, above all else.
Chef-owner Neha Mishra – a cook born in Delhi but who grew up in the UAE – has built Kinoya from her own unique design. She spent several years running a Japanese supper club called A Story of Food from her home in Dubai, which fed in excess of 7,000 guests before she made the call to take her concept mainstream. The leap from a talented home cook to a chef-patron and restaurateur has come naturally.
Perhaps most emphatically, Mishra has not received a day’s training – either formally in catering college or from a culinary sensei – in Japanese food. Everything she knows she has learnt from books, or where she has followed her own palate. Her travels to Japan saw her return to draft her own emblematic ramen bowl from the balance of flavours she wanted to bring to the fore. The result is a unique broth, heady with fragrant spice and with that unmistakable, tastebud-smacking umami hit that only quality ramen can deliver.
Kinoya itself offers excellent value. Meals come in at roughly $40 per head, which would best include a couple of selections from the robata grill list and, of course, the signature ramen. The restaurant itself is split into four spaces: the main dining room, a bar counter and two private dining rooms. Each space shows a fresh side of the restaurant, lending itself to different styles of dinner and event.
An egalitarian, relaxed concept built with flavour and good vibes at its core, we expect to see great things from Kinoya and, indeed, its talented young head chef, who has a huge future ahead of her.
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The One To Watch Award recognises a rising star restaurant within the MENA region which 50 Best believes has the potential to break into the list in the years to come. Its winner is selected by the 50 Best team based on the votes of its Academy and specific editorial criteria.
The Onyx Tower 2, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE+971 4 548 6776 Visit Kinoya's Website Visit Kinoya on Facebook Visit Kinoya on Instagram