DUBAI: Itadaku is an ingredient driven, family-run and Japanese restaurant in Dubai that presents a whole new world of authentic Japanese cuisine experience.
The name of the restaurant is short for the word ‘itadakimasu,’ which means ‘gratitude for receiving.’ Gratitude for receiving the ingredients, for the people who raised the ingredients, the people who picked the ingredients and for the people who have cooked and served the meal.
Executive chef Masaru Sakagami told Arab News Japan Itadaku opened its doors last month, inviting diners to experience a “menu, staff, and tableware that are all Japanese, where people can enjoy authentic Japanese cuisine in Dubai without having to travel to Japan.”
About the challenges for establishing & opening of “Itadaku” in Dubai, Sakagami said: “Initially, we were looking for fine dining in a five-star hotel, but they were skeptical about launching a new brand of traditional Japanese cuisine without fusion, so it was difficult for us to get a property.”
Chef Sakagami’s story and experience with Japanese cuisine originated from his mother, where she didn’t cut corners and she was a very good cook. Influenced by his mother, he became a chef who doesn’t cut corners and cooks with the guests in mind. He has over 20 years of Japanese cooking experience and can cook all kinds of Japanese dishes.
About his concept and method for cooking Japanese cuisine, Sakagami said: “The key to Japanese cuisine is the careful selection of good ingredients and to make the most of the potential of the ingredients. So, I don’t use too much sauces and I don’t season the food too strongly. Also, I try to balance the seasoning without hiding the taste of the ingredients themselves.”
The chef said the feedback to the restaurant so far has been positive. “UAE residents and Japanese people who have traveled to Japan all said to me that they are feeling like they have to Japan, even people who have never traveled to Japan are delighted with this authentic, traditional Japanese restaurant. It’s true that a few people regret that we don’t have a fusion Japanese menu,” he said.
Regarding Itadaku upcoming plans, Sakagami said: “The current issue is that it is very difficult to employ only Japanese staff to run a restaurant in Dubai, so create a team with a sufficient number of staff. With that team, my current goal is to further enhance the menu and service, and make Itadaku a more attractive restaurant.”
About his recommendations for those who wants to try the food at Itadaku or learn making Japanese food, Sakagami said: “I want people to come to Itadaku to try the ‘chef’s recommended menu’ first. I want people who want to learn about Japanese cuisine to watch my YouTube channel.”