“Where purpose meets passion”…

If there’s one chef who knows what he’s doing when it comes to Japanese cuisine, it’s Reif Othman. The acclaimed culinary master has a number of restaurants under his helm already, and now he’s been brought on to consult the menu for another.

Ikigai, found in Millennium Place Dubai Marina, has just opened its doors, bringing the flavours of Far East Asia to Dubai. The laid-back restaurant and bar concept aims to fuse high quality Japanese street food at lunch and dinner, with an extensive cocktail menu for those chilled after-work vibes.

It’s an izikaya (Japanese pub tavern) so don’t expect any fine-dining frills or white tablecloths as this easy-going eatery. Whether you’re catching up with friends on a Thursday night, or looking for a place to while away a Saturday afternoon, this is one to check out.

The name Ikigai means ‘reason for being’, which is fitting for a place that focuses on an upbeat atmosphere and good food. Inside the space, you’ll find wooden interiors, moody lighting and graffiti murals, inspired by Japanese urban chic streets.

On the menu, guests can expect a varied selection from grilled tiger prawns with Kombu butter to crispy tempura burgers. The mix-and-match sharing plates are designed to be ideal for celebrations and sharing.

“An izikaya concept in this part of Dubai is unique. It’s casual, really fun, and we cater for diners who love Japanese food and flavours. We take the quality of our food seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” said Mark Patten, Vice President of Food & Beverage, The First Group, who partnered with Reif on the new concept.

There’s a mix of high and low seating, as well as cosy booths to watch all the action of the venue from the sides. A panoramic bar takes up the centre of the space, while an outdoor space lends itself to alfresco dining in the cooler months.

Ikigai, Millennium Place Dubai Marina, daily 12pm to 1am. Tel: (0)4 550 8114. ikigaidubai.ae