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FACT Review: East meets West at Chef Izu’s Kai Enzo

With a slew of new openings, Chef Izu Ani shows little signs of slowing down, venturing into a new culinary direction with Kai Enzo.

Chef Izu Ani is a man who required little to no introduction. He is behind some of Dubai’s greatest hospitality hits, from Alaya to Gaia. 

His latest restaurant, Kai Enzo, is a fusion of East and West. The word Kai means ocean in Japanese, highlighting the restaurant’s beachfront location on the rooftop of Hyatt Centric Jumeirah Dubai. Enzo means king or owner and represents how the ingredients are in charge. It is also the name of Chef Izu’s son.  

Kai Enzo’s restaurant space presents bright interiors anchored around an expansive central bar. Simple wooden tables and chairs fan out across the floor towards an open show kitchen, where guests can peek into the inner workings of the busy kitchen. On the evening that we dine, beats from a resident DJ enliven the restaurant while the after-work crowd congregate in search of sushi and sake. With ample seating inside and on the outdoor terrace, guests can opt for beach or Burj Khalifa views.

Kai Enzo

The Kai Enzo menu features over 70 dishes and promotes an interesting take on traditional Japanese dishes injected with a Mediterranean twist. Broken down into snacks, starters, raw and sushi, charcoal grill and sides, we recommend ordering a few items from each section for sharing. Popular choices include the King Crab Salad (AED 160), Hokkaido Scallops (AED 108) and Wagyu Short Rib (AED 190).

Combining Eastern flavours with Western influences, Chef Izu and the Kai Enzo team create an elevated dining experience. We begin with the Apple and Daikon Salad (AED 65), which blends the acidity of the apple with sweet maple soy, rich foie gras and hazelnuts for a tempting textural crunch. Elsewhere, Wagyu Beef Gyoza (AED 72) offer a lightly fried durable wrapper that gives way to the rich and tender filling.

Kai Enzo

From the raw section, the Sliced Yellowtail (AED 85) with pomelo, chill and kombu oil is a winning dish showcasing Izu’s culinary finesse. However, the slithers of Otoro (AED 100) and Prawn Tempura Maki (AED 75) are the stars of this culinary show. 

We could have easily structured our dining experience around the starters and sushi. However, the main courses (though limited in number) maintain the consistency that Kai Enzo strives for. Popular choices include the Chicken Kushiyaki (AED 72), charred to perfection with black pepper tare and green kosho or the sweet and delicate Chilean Sea Bass (AED 175) marinated with citrus miso that falls away at the mere prod of a fork.

Kai Enzo

The notion of balancing Asian flavours with Mediterranean influences continues through to the dessert course, where Cherry Blossom Panna Cotta with black sesame crumble (AED 58) and Japanese Cheesecake with caramel and vanilla anglaise (AED 60) prove popular choices. Regular diners at Izu-fronted concepts will likely make a bee-line for the Hokkaido Cheese Ice Cream (AED 110). The literal mountain of dairy, enhanced with hazelnut crumble and roasted strawberry, brings a unique textural counterpart to a dessert that is easily enough for two or three people to share.

After conquering the worlds of fine dining and food delivery, culinary mastermind Chef Izu Ani has brought his epicurean flair to Hyatt Centric Jumeirah Dubai. Kai Enzo marks just one of his culinary endeavours, having taken over the hotel’s entire food and beverage operations – breakfast, lunch, dinner and in-room dining included.

Kai Enzo

Those who remember Chef Izu’s Aya, which sadly closed down several years ago, will rejoice at his return to Japanese cuisine. For those yet to experience his alluring combination of East meet West – you’re in for a real treat.

GO: Visit for more information.

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David Tapley - Editor-in-Chief
As editor-in-chief of the region’s most fiercely local lifestyle publication, David is a self-proclaimed hip-hop aficionado, championing all things food, travel, street art, and streetwear across the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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