Reif Japanese Kushiyaki to launch six new restaurants in the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia

Cairo and Riyadh are set to welcome branches of the famed Japanese concept

Chef Reif Othman, centre, with chef Jun Tomioka, left, and business partner Ahsan Kahlon. Courtesy Reif Japanese Kushiyaki
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Good news for fans of Reif Japanese Kushiyaki’s flavourful ramen bowls and crunchy sandos – the restaurant chain will be expanding to other parts of the Middle East, with six new concepts lined up over the course of 2021.

The first is a mini version of Reif Japanese Kushiyaki at Time Out Market Dubai in Souk al Bahar, slated to open in the first quarter of the year.

This will be followed by a second outlet of the restaurant, located right next to the first branch at Dubai's dar wasl mall in May. And UAE residents can expect more than the modern Japanese food the restaurant is known for. The new venue will house chef Reif Othman's bakery and breakfast cafe, with a new breakfast menu, coffee, tea and his trademark cakes.

Also due to open in May is Reif Japanese Kushiyaki's first franchised restaurant in the world, in Cairo, Egypt. The venue will launch with Baky Hospitality, and will be able to seat 140 diners.

Three more franchised locations are also being explored in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and are scheduled to open later in 2021.

The expansion comes at a hard time for the food industry, with restaurants constantly revising rules and safety measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

But despite the pandemic, Reif Japanese Kushiyaki in dar wasl mall, which opened in August 2019, has reported an 85 per cent year-on-year increase in revenue for the last quarter of 2020.

The chef launched several new initiatives over the past year – from opening a new concept at Depachika Food Hall and The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah, to creating quirky toilet paper-shaped cakes during the height of the pandemic.

In light of the exponential growth, Othman’s chef of more than a decade, Jun Tomioka, will be taking on the role of regional chef de cuisine for existing restaurants.

“We are also assessing additional locations both in the region and globally,” said Ahsan Kahlon, co-owner of Reif Japanese Kushiyaki and Othman’s business partner.