Junoon to make Dubai debut as first extension of culinary brand
Manhattan’s Acclaimed Contemporary Indian Restaurant to Open at Shangri-La Hotel in Dubai
Junoon, New York City’s Michelin-starred contemporary Indian restaurant known for its elegantly modern take on traditional dishes, will open its second location this fall as a 5,000 square foot, 145-seat United Arab Emirates (UAE) outpost in Dubai’s five-star Shangri-La Hotel.
New York based restaurateur Rajesh Bhardwaj, who founded Junoon as an expression of his passion for the food and culture of his native India, made the announcement at the restaurant’s third anniversary celebration on Wednesday evening, May 13.
He stated the new Dubai location will set the stage for future expansion of the Junoon brand; one internationally acclaimed for its exploration of Indian cuisine’s infinite gastronomic possibilities under the guidance of Corporate Chef Vikas Khanna, one of the subcontinent’s most renown culinary talents and cookbook authors. A brand that has been awarded a coveted Michelin star annually since Junoon opened in 2011.
“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. 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,” Bhardwaj explained. “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.”
Bhardwaj also cited the original Junoon’s popularity with business travelers from the UAE as a factor in deciding on Dubai, along with the restaurant being frequented by some of the Middle East’s royal families. Consequently, he considers the Dubai opening a first step to toward the possible establishment of additional locations in the region.
As the first Junoon (“passion” in Hindi) brand extension, the Dubai restaurant will incorporate many elements of the Manhattan original, but will also reflect its Arabian Peninsula address with food, beverage and decorative nods to the regional culture. The menu will be rooted in Junoon’s 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. Some 65 percent of it will replicate the New York menu, the remaining devoted to new items created for Dubai diners, including dishes based on the grouper and massive prawns for which the local waters are so famous.
Similarly, the beverage program will follow Junoon New York’s lead with a superior wine selection, representing the best of old and new world production. And by cocktails of classic origins, as well as contemporary mixology concoctions utilizing ingredients from the kitchen to lend a food and drink flavor consistency. However, in Dubai, mocktails will be showcased by a large array of non-alcoholic concoctions inspired by the kitchen to further enhance Junoon’s comestible and beverage confluence.
For Dubai, architect and designer Tarik Currimbhoy is fashioning a contemporary space where ancient Indian artistry and stylish elegance seamlessly converge as he did for New York. The Manhattan Junoon’s “tree of life” theme will be conveyed with bronze palm trees symbolic of Dubai, the centuries old Burma teak arches from an Indian mansion acting as stunning counterpoint to their modern motif throughout the restaurant resplendent in a richly theatrical palette of purple, red and gold hues. 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.
Dubai’s Junoon will be situated on the third floor of the luxurious 302-room Shangri-La, at 1 Sheikh Zayed Rd. Opening in the fall of 2014, it will join the hotel’s impressive collection of eight restaurants and bars.
The original Junoon is located at 27 W. 24th St, New York, NY 10010. For more information, please call (212)490-2100 or visit www.junoonnyc.com.