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Samurai strikes back

Samurai strikes back

New Japanese restaurant, Kanpai, makes a swift entry into the scene at Souk Al Bahar

UAE: Metrico Design Studio has completed a new Japanese restaurant, Kanpai, which recently opened in the heart of Downtown Dubai’s Souk Al Bahar.

The term “kanpai” refers to a number of things in Japanese tradition, from meaning “cheers” to referring to a warrior; it’s a loaded term that bares a heavy value in the country’s culture.

Coinciding with the theme, the restaurant, which serves Japanese fusion cuisine, boasts a contemporary and cool design that consists of samurai statues and a six-metre long onyx social bar.

Kanpai sits at a comfortable 510m2 and is divided into three separate sections including a main entrance, lounge bar and dining lounge. And though the three are considered separate spaces, they are consistent and thorough in their designs, making the transition from one room to another swift and natural.

“We wanted the transition from dinner to lounge to be very smooth and we knew that through the use of sophisticated design, this could be achieved. The designers made sure to bring elements from the restaurant into the adjacent lounge to ensure…a continuation of the journey,” explains Kanpai’s co-owner, Ahmed Atwi.

He continued: “The lounge is an extension of the restaurant, but has a more upbeat and bolder feel to it…We chose to work with Metrico Design Studio because from all the design teams we met with, they seemed to be the ones who could most relate to our aspirations for the restaurant.”

Settled amongst the other elegant and popular restaurants of Souk Al Bahar, Atwi explained that he was aware of the challenge of competition. Though, as long as Kanpai maintained a unique element through design, those walking through the area would more than likely be lured in.

A main component of Kanpai’s interior comes in the form of large, hand-crafted samurai statues and samurai heads located on the restaurant’s façade and throughout the interior.
Customers can enjoy the rich materials and traditional Japanese elements. Additionally, as the focus of the restaurant, the Tappanyaki table attracts quite a lot of attention, as it’s not only bold in its creation, but also accommodates nearly a dozen customers.

On her inspiration, Caroline Srouki, design manager, Metrico Design Studio, explained: “The Japanese cuisine was the focus, and using the Teppanyaki table was a key element, as the table itself was designed in a way to fit in an open space restaurant.”

Throughout the interior, those who stop by can enjoy a rich setting that not only provides a gentle graduation from room to room, but also from evening to night-time.

Srouki further added: “The concept design was based and evolved around the definition of the name ‘Kanpai—The Japanese warrior coming back from the war and celebrating his victory with friends and family.’

Most elements of the interior concept were inspired by old Japanese scenes applied and implemented in a very modern way –answering nowadays style and fusion.”

She continued: “Beside many other elements, Kanpai’s head is the main feature of the venue. We tried to expose it in so many different ways –we loved it.”

And though the samurai heads were designed to be the main attraction, we at CID find the combination of coloured lights used throughout give the interior the extra boost it needs to stand out.

From rich shades of purple to the use of vibrant golden yellows, the lighting in Kanpai truly enhances the ambiance and helps create an intimate and jazzy setting. Regardless of what section you’re in, you’re likely to feel like you’re out for the long-haul, making it a night to remember.

Michael Gong, co-owner of Kanpai, noted: “Residents and visitors to Dubai have very high expectations when it comes to dining and entertainment.

Therefore, in order to make a mark in this competitive city, you need to introduce a concept which works well on many levels…We hope that Kanpai will quickly become the go-to destination for quality Japanese fusion cuisine in a beautiful and entertaining setting.”

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