Surprise, Surprise: Kinoya Wins the Coveted One To Watch Award 2022

Chef Neha Mishra’s restaurant has been recognised by MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants.

If you’ve ever contentedly slurped your way through one of Chef Neha Mishra’s ramen bowls, the news will come as no surprise – Kinoya, famed for its ramen and izakaya-style cuisine, has been honoured with the highly coveted One To Watch Award 2022 by 50 Best. The accolade recognises a regional rising star believed to possess the potential to break into the list in the years to come, and will be presented to Mishra – a.k.a. the ‘Ramen Queen’ – at the inaugural MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants gala ceremony in Abu Dhabi next month.

As for her backstory? The chef burst onto Dubai’s dining scene with A Story of Food, a supper club that she ran from her home. During its tenure, it fed over 7,000 guests, serving a six-course Japanese menu with Mishra’s ramen bowl as its centrepiece. The success led to the opening of Kinoya, located at Onyx Tower in The Greens in April 2021. Initially conceptualised as a ramen shop, it ultimately took the shape of an izakaya to showcase more of Mishra’s outstanding Japanese techniques, and has quickly distinguished itself with its welcoming atmosphere and Japanese classics – think: tamago sando, a large selection of ramen, and memorable robata offerings.

Egalitarian in essence and offering excellent value in terms of price point, Kinoya represents the simplicity of Japanese discipline and sophistication, which is also reflected in the venue’s layout and décor. The restaurant is divided into a ramen counter, an open seating area, a bar, a chef’s table and two tatami rooms for private dining, the different sections allowing for different experiences on each visit. William Drew, Director of Content for 50 Best, says: “At Kinoya, Neha Mishra has created a one-of-a-kind space within the bustling city of Dubai. From the moment of walking through the door, Kinoya transports guests to an authentic Japanese izakaya, where the décor and outstanding food come together as one. Mishra’s ramen, as you might expect from someone who has studied the dish so extensively, is nothing short of stunning. We are delighted to name Kinoya as the One To Watch as part of the overall MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants awards programme.”

Chef Mishra says, “We are humbled by the recognition and are delighted to be the winner of the first One To Watch Award at MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants. To receive this award just 11 months after opening is a dream come true. We have tried to create a relaxed space where anyone – no matter where they are from or how much they earn – can come and enjoy a good meal. The award is a credit to my team and everyone’s hard work; we are just starting out on our journey, but this award shows us we are on the right path.”

The first edition of Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants event programme will make its debut in Abu Dhabi come February, culminating in the awards ceremony and unveiling of the list, and providing a unique opportunity for chefs, gourmets, and food and travel media from all over the region to gather and celebrate all things cuisine.

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Samia Qaiyum
A textbook third culture kid with a perpetual thirst for adventure, Samia Qaiyum specialises in travel and culture, having lived in five countries and travelled to 34 others – just don't ask her to define the word 'home'.

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