By Rahul Odedra
New York restaurant will launch 145-seater eatery as it looks to expand internationally
New York restaurant Junoon, which has held a Michelin star since opening in 2011, is to open at its second location, in the Shangri-La Hotel in Dubai later this year.
Covering 5,000 square feet, the 145-seat restaurant will mark the beginning of an international expansion phase for the restaurant, which was founded by New York-based restaurateur Rajesh Bhardwaj. It is set to open in the autumn.
The new restaurant will incorporate elements of the original Manhattan restaurant, led by corporate chef Vikas Khanna, although its food and beverage will also be influenced by the Arabian Peninsula.
“We feel strongly Junoon can be a global brand and have been researching cities that would be a good fit for our first foray into expansion,” said Bhardwaj. “One of the world’s fastest growing cities and travel destinations, with a large Indian ex-pat community, Dubai stood out as the site of the second Junoon.
“Dubai’s dynamic culinary scene, with the world’s most celebrated chefs opening restaurants there, was another draw. Having a presence in Dubai is increasingly important to the future international growth of a restaurant brand.”
He added that the popularity of the original restaurant with business travellers from the UAE, as well as members of Middle East royal families, also influenced the decision to expand to Dubai, along with the restaurant being frequented by some of the Middle East’s royal families.
The menu at Junoon will be rooted in its culinary philosophy of focusing on high quality sustainable ingredients that have an affinity for Indian cuisine, prepared with elevated cooking techniques to yield contemporary interpretations of Indian food.
Approximately 65% will replicate the New York menu, the remaining devoted to new items created for Dubai diners, including dishes based on the grouper and large prawns for which the local waters are famous.
The beverage program will also follow Junoon New York’s lead with a superior wine selection, representing the best of old and new world production. Classic and contemporary cocktails will be joined on the drinks menu by an extensive array of mocktails.
Architect and designer Tarik Currimbhoy will create the space for the new restaurant, as he as he did in New York. The Manhattan Junoon’s ‘tree of life’ theme will be conveyed with bronze palm trees symbolic of Dubai.
The restaurant’s dining room and open kitchen - another New York hallmark - will merge as one, woven together by the palm arches to foster a sense of dining in an interactive museum setting celebrating food and drink.For all the latest gourmet news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.