ABU DHABI: OTORO, a modern Japanese concept restaurant, opened in Abu Dhabi with a philosophy of serving simple, great and exquisite food made with fresh produce from various prefectures of Japan.
Perched amidst the iconic landmarks in Abu Dhabi like the National Aquarium, with views of the Grand Mosque, OTORO boasts a minimalist interior inspired by the subtlety of contemporary Japanese design. The restaurant has a welcoming ambience while the open kitchen allows one an unblocked view of the chefs in action. The venue seats 60 indoors, including a private dining room, and 40 on the waterfront terrace.
Antogin Johnson, General Manager of OTORO told Arab News Japan the story and main concept of the restaurant: “OTORO opened its doors in the Al Qana district of Abu Dhabi in April 2022. OTORO’s philosophy is simple; great and exquisite food made with fresh produce from various prefectures of Japan such as Wagyu from Kagoshima, Otoro from Tokyo and Uni from Hokkaido.”
About the challenges for establishing & opening OTORO in Abu Dhabi, Johnson said: “OTORO is White Rice’s first foray into the capital and understanding the market in Abu Dhabi was initially a challenge as with starting any business in a new location. However, we were fortunate to have a relatively smooth experience with minimal challenges and are thankful our concept has been well received.”
About the response & feedback from the people who tried Japanese food at OTORO, Johnson said: “The response and feedback from our guests have been amazing thus far! Customers appreciate the quality of our ingredients as well as the lovely service and ambience of the restaurant. Being recognized by Abu Dhabi’s 2023 Michelin guide and awarded a Bib Gourmand in our first year of opening is also something we are extremely proud of.”
The restaurant offers premium cuts of Wagyu beef and the freshest seafood flown in specially from Japan that could rival some of the city’s best restaurants.
Susu Chuen, Head Chef of OTORO told Arab News Japan about his story and experience with Japanese cooking: “I’m originally from Malaysia and I worked in numerous award-winning restaurants in Singapore including IGGY’s, where I started learning about and working with Japanese ingredients. I have moved to the UAE a decade ago and was the opening team of Dubai based restaurants, Zengo and 3Fils.”
“Now the corporate chef of White Rice, I have the helms of the kitchen operations and culinary direction alongside internationally acclaimed Chef Akmal Anuar. Together, we have overseen the group’s portfolio which include 1 Michelin starred 11 Woodfire and Michelin Bib Gourmand awardees, Goldfish and OTORO.”
“Most recently, I underwent a kaiseki training at prestigious Relais & Châteaux’s 2 Michelin starred property, Zeniya, in Kanazawa, Japan,” he added.
About his concept for cooking Japanese food, Chuen said: “Less is more. We believe in putting our own unique touch to our menu while allowing the ingredients to shine.”