Zuma and Roka among acclaimed restaurants set to open in Saudi Arabia

The popular restaurants, which both have outlets in Dubai, will make their debut in the kingdom next year

Roka opened its first international branch in Dubai in March 2020. Courtesy Roka
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The dining scene in Saudi Arabia is set to welcome many world-famous names next year.

Renowned restaurants Roka and Zuma will make their debut in the kingdom in 2021, among a host of upscale brands opening outposts in the country.

Azumi Limited, the parent company behind the restaurants, has signed a deal with Saudi Arabia’s MJS Holding to open seven dining venues around the country, including branches of Oblix, Etaru and Inko Nito.

Zuma, the Japanese restaurant that has been a staple in Dubai for more than 10 years and also has a branch in Abu Dhabi, was founded by chef Rainer Becker in London in 2002. Known for its izakaya-inspired form of shared dining, its famous plates include miso-marinated black cod, sliced yellowtail and salt-grilled sea bass.

Becker is also behind Roka, a contemporary Japanese robatayaki restaurant that opened in Dubai's Zaha Hadid-designed The Opus by Omniyat this March, and also has four branches in London.

Oblix, which is billed as a fine-dining "urban rotisserie", opened in London's Shard building in 2013, while Japanese robatayaki spot Inko Nito was born in Los Angeles in 2018. Etaru Japanese Bar and Grill, another Becker-founded modern Japanese concept, launched in Florida in 2017.

“The kingdom is a fast-growing market and new for us, we are very proud to be taking this step," said Sven Koch, chief executive of Azumi.

Mohammed Abdulrahman Jawa, founder of MJS Holding, added that he was inspired to work with the restaurant group in 2011.

"I guess everything happens at the right time, for a reason. It is a great honour and pleasure to be part of the Zuma family," he said.

The first confirmed opening will be Roka in early 2021, which will be in Riyadh.

The news comes several months after UAE-founded French dining restaurant La Serre announced it would also be opening a branch in Riyadh, as well as London and New York.