Since 1975
  • facebook
  • twitter

INTERVIEW: Ichiryu Ramen House brings “solo dining” and authentic Japanese cuisine to the UAE

Ichiryu Ramen House is the a newest ramen restaurant in Dubai. (Supplied)
Ichiryu Ramen House is the a newest ramen restaurant in Dubai. (Supplied)
Short Url:
03 Aug 2023 05:08:20 GMT9
03 Aug 2023 05:08:20 GMT9

Manar Elbaz

Dubai: After going viral on social media for their “solo dining” area, their aesthetically pleasing interior design, and delicious ramen dishes, the owners of Ichiryu Ramen House sat down with Arab News Japan to discuss their journey, inspiration, and future plans for the restaurant. 

Located in Dubai, Ichiryu Ramen House is the a new ramen restaurant that was founded by three Filipino brothers to share their profound love for Japanese cuisine and culture. The restaurant doesn’t only offer authentic Japanese ramen but also authentic drinks and side dishes.

Ichiryu Ramen House is located at Al Wasl Port in Dubai. (Supplied)

While the restaurant offers group dining, it went viral on social media for having a solo dining area, which is a very popular way of dining in Japan. At Ichiryu, guests sit in a single-seater booth and fill out the order form. Once their order is ready, a server will lift the curtain to hand the guest their food. The kitchen is located on the other side of the booths, so guests can enjoy hearing the process of their food being prepared. 

When asked about the solo dining experience, Nicolai De Guzman, Head of Creative and Communication, told Arab News Japan that he wanted the whole restaurant to be a solo dining place: “We did some research (and) most of the people here like to eat in groups… I insisted on having this little solo dining”. 

The inspiration for solo dining is for girls to feel comfortable while eating ramen “Because when you eat ramen, it usually gets really messy..that’s why I introduced it here to see how the people are going to take it, and they actually love it,” Nicolai adds. 

The solo dining area at Ichiryu Ramen House. (ANJP)

Nicolai has 15 years of experience as a Studio Director, so the support for the solo dining was unexpected and overwhelming. “I made a lot of adjustments and mistakes in the journey…people actually loved it, so we’re going to develop it”, he adds.

The moment guests walk into the restaurant, they get a piece of Japanese culture. The restaurant is surrounded by Japanese decorations, manga collections, a 2-meter high Gundam model, as well as a projector and TV that plays anime. “Anime is in my blood,” says Nicolai. “I grew up in an anime culture when I was really really young. In the Philippines, there are so many anime fans”, he added.

Nicolai credited anime as his main reason for becoming a designer, as it taught him how to appreciate life. His own manga collection is displayed at the restaurant.  Although he didn’t grow up or live in Japan, his deep love and appreciation for the culture can be seen in every corner of the restaurant. He explained that his father was the reason his love for Japan began: “Our father worked in Japan for a very long time. So I grew up having stories of how beautiful Japan is.”

Interior of Ichiryu Ramen House. (Supplied)

Head chef Raul De Guzman studied in Japan; however, he didn’t study culinary.  “I actually studied electricity, and then, along the way, I met a Japanese chef running a big restaurant and also a ramen shop who taught me (how to make ramen).”

“I ate one ramen and fell in love with it. That was more than 30 years ago. I still remember the hotel and how it felt. That’s how I fell in love with Japanese food”. He added. 

Raul told Arab News Japan that he is committed to bringing the most authentic Japanese food to Dubai. He boils the broth for 16 hours to bring delicious flavors to the guests. “I cook with passion,” he explained. “I’m very picky with timings..I always measure everything”.

The menu offers four different types of ramen, starting at 1,871 Yen. Their best seller is the Aka Paitan (also known as the Red Ramen), which consists of Chicken Patan, Chashu, Ajitsuke Tamago, Chicken Sesame Peanut Sauce. Spring Onions and Black Fungus. 

One of the ramen dishes at the restaurant. (Supplied)

The brothers are planning to innovate and bring seasonal dishes, as long as they’re as authentic as possible. They’re also planning to host future events and screenings of Japanese movies to bring the community together.

The brothers expressed their excitement regarding opening branches around the GCC region, specifically in Saudi Arabia. “Our furthest guest came from Riyadh. He flew from there during Eid to come see us,” the brothers recalled. 

Regarding future plans, the brothers have a 10 year plan to bring Japan to the Middle East “We have four phases. We are at phase one, which is Ichiryu. We have a second one. The third one is the biggest…I did the concept design for it and showed it to (Raul) and he said it was crazy.. I think it’s going to blow everyone’s mind. If you think (Ichiryu) is crazy, wait for this one”.

Ichiryu Ramen House is open from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It’s located at Al Wasl Port Views Building 7.

Most Popular

return to top