Japanese izakaya, Fujiya Dubai, has opened a second branch at the Swissôtel Al Murooj in the heart of Downtown Dubai.
Fujiya originally opened at the Millennium Airport Hotel in 2018, offering diners a casual Japanese dining venue that’s half-bar, half-restaurant. In Japan, an izakaya becomes an integral part of the neighbourhood and community. Set to become a neighbourhood favourite, the new branch features outdoor seating spread over two levels, surrounded by palm trees and ornamental ponds for a resort-like setting in a convenient location between DIFC and The Dubai Mall.
The majority of ingredients and produce used at Fujiya are imported directly from Japan, with signature dishes including the Japanese Wagyu yakiniku barbecue and shabu shabu hot pot. Also not to be missed are the sushi and sashimi selections, kara-age fried chicken, gyoza dumplings and crispy tempura accompanied by a wide beverage selection.
Director of Fujiya, Akio Hayakawa, says: “Fujiya Downtown will offer everything you love about the original Fujiya and more. We’ll be carrying over our favourite menu items to the new branch but will also be introducing more seasonal and unusual Japanese items. During the cooler season, we’ll have more items to enjoy outdoors, including yakitori chicken cooked in front of you over a charcoal barbecue. Also, look out for our weekday Happy Hour and increased beverage items.”
A former sumo wrestler, Hayakawa’s journey to restauranteur, wasn’t always straightforward. Having started sumo at the age of six, he practised and competed throughout his school years until he became captain of Tokyo’s Meiji University Sumo Team. However – in his biggest fight of the year, he broke his neck in two places and ended up hospitalised for two months. “I won the match, but it was only afterwards that I realised how much I’d hurt myself. The adrenalin just carried me through,” he says.
He believes this “warrior spirit” developed over those years led him to be fearless in the face of new challenges. With no previous restaurant experience other than helping out at his father’s small diner as a child, Hayakawa opened his first izakaya in Tokyo in 2013, focusing on filling, reasonably priced food that would appeal to students.
Fujiya Downtown is open daily from 12pm to 1am.