Calling all Abu Dhabi foodies…

Abu Dhabi’s dining scene is about to reach new heights, with chef James Soo Yong Kim the CEO of White hospitality group unveiling plans to open seven new fine dining outlets in the city. The Korean-American chef will launch Dangereux in Mamsha Saadiyat, White Izakaya in Yas Mall, Miss Korea in Galleria Mall, Provador on Reem Island, ADGM on Maryan Island as well as White Smoke Steak House and Day and Nite cafe in Al Seef Walk,

All the outlets will embody James’ passion for creativity, love of sharing and passion for the world’s cuisines.

Chef James Soo Yong Kim is fuelled with an ‘obsession to create something that is purely Abu Dhabi’


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James Kim is a man of many traits with an undeniably creative flair. He began his career in fashion before embarking on his culinary adventures. James has an impressive resume, having risen to the top of multiple Michelin Star restaurants in New York, including Acme, Balthazar, Blanca, Caviar Russe, and Le Cirque. The seven scheduled restaurants won’t be the acclaimed chef’s first gastronomic engagements with the capital, Café James recently opened on Al Reem island, and has already recruited a dedicated following of foodies.

Chef Kim sits as the architect and executive chef on all his projects here in the UAE. His other accomplishments include the design of Ritual in Al Ain and WKND in Dubai.

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In 2019 the accomplished chef became CEO of White Hospitality group, a homegrown brand based in Abu Dhabi, which has set for an ambitious year ahead with the launch of seven fine-dining projects that hope to usher in a new era for gastronomy in the city.

Alongside existing Cafe James and Cafe Kumiko in Abu Dhabi, his next venture will be the opening of Les Dangereux at Mamsha Saadiyat’s stunning Soul Beach which will serve refined french cuisine. Here he will work alongside his ‘culinary heroes’ Llorenc Garcia Sagarra and Daniel Lasa. Sagarra will be joining as co-chef, who has previously worked at the internationally renowned Mugaritz in Spain and was named no 21 on World’s 50 Best in 2022.

Abu Dhabi new restaurants chef kim

Chef Kim’s Korean concepts are a particular highlight, which are an ode to his heritage. The restaurant White Izakaya on Yas Island hopes to express a true taste of Korea, transporting guests to the streets of Kangnam. La-based artist Tommii Lim will be designing all the murals for this venue, bringing an artistic edge and unique flare. This will also be the only licensed venue on the property – so expect lots of short ribs and soju.

The passion for architectural embellishments will stand proud in all venues, with White Smoke in Al Seef designed to recreate the feeling of sitting below gentle rainfall. This will be achieved through a glass extension that has been installed with 850 custom nozzles, with the vision to mimic rain and the feeling of fall in Seattle.

Another unique project amongst the seven announced will be the unlicensed Cafe Day and Nite, which run on the basis of an invite and reservation-only cafe, with a menu that will change every three months. The venue will home a day room and a nite room, showcasing full-size wall LCD panels that will display black and white films of Jame’s travels to Paris, Mexico City, Seoul and Rhabatt. A bar will sit central, acting as a stage for chefs to complete all dishes. The venue will boast a drinks menu including craft mocktail mixology, created in careful collaboration with Dani Lasa, the director of research and development for Mugaritz.

With the establishment of White Farms, Chef James is also committed to bringing sustainability to the forefront of these projects. This includes a 52-greenhouse organic farm in Al Ain that will contribute a true farm-to-table dining concept by utilizing locally sourced fresh produce.

Details like this are set to facilitate Jame’s desire to redefine the culinary scene, curating the ingredients to bring the flavours needed to make Abu Dhabi a true food capital. Jame’s venues are driven by a desire to break away from the city’s generic conceptual elements, as well as an obsession to create something uniquely Abu Dhabi.

His ventures don’t end there, with an eighth project in Saudia Arabia called MRSSM, opening soon.

We currently don’t have any further information regarding opening dates for each venue, but make sure to watch this space for more details to follow in the weeks ahead.

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