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Otaku: Japanese inspired café in UAE with variety of pastries, beverages

The cafe has three branches in Abu Dhabi and one branch in Dubai. (Supplied)
The cafe has three branches in Abu Dhabi and one branch in Dubai. (Supplied)
The cafe has three branches in Abu Dhabi and one branch in Dubai. (Supplied)
The cafe has three branches in Abu Dhabi and one branch in Dubai. (Supplied)
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14 Feb 2024 03:02:48 GMT9
14 Feb 2024 03:02:48 GMT9

Amin Abbas

DUBAI: Otaku is a Japanese inspired café in the United Arab Emirates that serves a variety of cakes, pastries, and beverages inspired by Japanese culture.

About the establishment and challenges of the café, Elsie Luna, Otaku’s Operations Manager, said, “Our journey began in 2019 through the eyes of an enthusiast traveler, according to our founder, Humaid. A combination of modern approach and Japanese aesthetic where old meets new. A space with the philosophy of a home where people come together and experience spaces with different functions. Our goal is to carve a niche in the local market by offering homegrown bakery servings along with specialty coffee, allowing for a memorable culinary experience.”

“We were all in high spirits, brainstorming how we could set up otaku in the midst of a competitive market. We enforced belief in the brand and made it happen from designing, procurement, logistics, etc. What comes in between is the pandemic, which all of us never anticipated. As a newly born project, it was a challenging stage where we must keep the business running, ensuring our customers and the team’s wellbeing,” she added.

Regarding the response and feedback from the people who tried the pastries and beverages at Otaku, Luna said, “It has been positive. We have our ups and downs, but what we committed ourselves to was to embrace our customers constructive criticism and use it as an opportunity for growth. We have become known for our souffle pancakes, and we ensure that the offerings we provide are what are in demand. We were invited to cater to different events and functions. What gives us more joy is seeing the increase in our repeat customers, this is our benchmark for heading in the right direction.”

About distinguishing Otaku from other Japanese cafes in the UAE, Luna said, “We are the fusion of both our brand and the team we have. The approach is minimalist, clean, and precise. We pay attention to details when it comes to what we offer before putting them into action. Our space is welcoming, and we give room for our customers to enjoy the experience. We carefully select our retail offerings and work closely with trusted brands when choosing our ingredients. The gem is our people, who are well versed and trained to meet customer needs.”

Regarding the cafe’s future plans, Luna said, “Our focus is growth, expansion, and collaboration. Working towards our mission, we foresee that it is already in our hands. Our aim is to get recognition and awards in the field where we can showcase our deliverables to our target market.”


About Otaku’s recommendations for those who want to try or learn how to make Japanese food and drinks, Luna said, “Always start with a generic approach, learn the basics to understand the authenticity of the products, and get an introduction through tasting of Japanese inspired cuisines, for this creates nostalgia and a desire for one to recreate it, which can be a core inspiration for how to make Japanese food and drinks. Trust the process, embrace diversity, and allow the vast knowledge of Japanese cuisine to unfold before you.”

The cafe has three branches in Abu Dhabi (in Yas Mall, Al Qana, and Algurm Plaza,) and one branch in Dubai’s Design District. 

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