Inakaya Abu Dhabi – Robata Grill and Sushi Japanese Restaurant has been recognised in the Best of Restaurant category at the esteemed Middle East Interior Design & Architecture Awards 2015 (MEIDAA).
The Abu Dhabi restaurant, which is owned and managed by Abu Dhabi National Hotels (ADNH) as part of the Venetian Village, was designed by Dubai-based interior design consultancy Stickman.
The MEIDAA competition, now in its third year, rewards outstanding interior design projects across the residential, commercial, retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors. Inakaya was chosen by MEIDAA’s eight-person judging panel, which comprised experts from the likes of Ethan Allen, EC Harris International, and architecture and design academia from the American University in Dubai and the Canadian University Dubai, among others.
The restaurant was one of 28 winners selected out of more than 160 entries submitted across 12 project categories for the MENA region.
An ADNH spokesperson commented: “It is a great achievement for Inakaya to be recognised by such a prominent group of industry specialists. For each Venetian Village restaurant, ADNH chose to work with renowned specialized interior designers to ensure that each outlet has a strong identity that reflects a very specific cuisine. From the early stages of conceptualization for Inakaya, our priority was to create an authentic Japanese dining experience that was also modern, comfortable, and visually appealing and unique. We are thrilled that, with Stickman’s collaboration, this vision has translated successfully for guests and industry experts alike.”
In addition, Marcos Caine, Stickman’s Director and Co-founder stated: “We are delighted and extremely proud that Inakaya received the Best of Restaurant award at the MEIDAA ceremony. It was a pleasure working with ADNH and an honor to have Inakaya acknowledged by an award that celebrates the highest level of design excellence. Re-inventing an already very successful brand of 40 years in Tokyo, Hong Kong and New York and introducing it to Abu Dhabi within a minimalist and authentic design experience has been a remarkable highlight for us as a company.”
The Japanese robatayaki restaurant offers unrestricted views of the waterfront, allowing guests to sit indoors, outdoors, or within the temperature-controlled glasshouse. Guests are greeted by an up-lit Samurai warrior framed by beautiful black stained timber screens.
A hanging folded paper feature adorns the ceiling in the welcoming area; this is inspired by the Omikuji tree tradition that originates from hanging random fortunes written on strips of paper at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan. In a contrastive symmetry, the ceiling of the room that can be used for private dining displays a spectacular feature incorporating 2000 original sake bottles hanging on ropes from the ceiling. The main attraction – Inakaya’s famous long robata counter – sees the yakikata (grill-masters) cook on an open flame before serving guests using the signature 1.2 metre-long paddles.
Dubbed an interactive theatre that has won over diners in New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong, Inakaya made its regional debut in Abu Dhabi in October 2014 and is now critically acclaimed. The restaurant is open daily for lunch from 12.30pm to 3.00pm, and for dinner from 6.30pm to 11.00pm.