DUBAI: In a ceremony held last week in Abu Dhabi, Japanese eatery Myazu was named the best restaurant in Saudi Arabia by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants MENA list.
Winning the honor for the second time in a row, Myazu head chef Ian Pengelley – a household name in Asian fine dining – says he is “proud and honored” to have received the accolade.
Known for its authentic Japanese food made using traditional techniques but with modern flair, Myazu first set up shop in Riyadh in December 2020, before opening up outlets in Jeddah and AlUla.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of hard work involved in running a restaurant and when in the kitchen, your product must be consistent. And one of the things that we do well is we create the best team ever and the right environment for everybody to perform and create. And, again, more hard work,” said Pengelley when asked about the key ingredient to Myazu’s success in an interview with Arab News.
One of the things that Chef Pengelley likes to make sure he does before putting a menu together for a new restaurant is travel to the source, a guiding principle he used when designing Myazu’s menu in the UK and across other Asian markets. Moving to Saudi Arabia also posed an exciting challenge for Pengelley, who started out his career as a kitchen porter at the age of 16.
“I have to be honest, it’s been very, very challenging, but also very, very exciting. A new region, undeveloped region in the restaurant scene. It's very challenging. But we've enjoyed it. And it's been great bringing people from all around the world and creating a fabulous team here,” said Pengelley.
Myazu, set up under the Modern Food Company umbrella, is set to build on the success of its popularity, says Pengelley.
“We have just opened up another room, which is a bit more intimate and dark, called Arts by Myazu. We've also just created a liquid nitrogen ice cream trolley. So, we have a trolley that wheels around the restaurant and we actually make the ice cream in liquid nitrogen in front of the guests. So we’re trying to be innovative, creative and original. And fun. Lots of fun.”
The Modern Food Company is also looking at exciting times ahead. “We have a new restaurant opening in in April called Robata, which is a Japanese robatayaki concept. Very sexy, very fun, very funky,” he said.