New York — Junoon, a Michelin-starred contemporary Indian restaurant in New York City known for its modern take on traditional dishes, is set to open its second location this fall 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 May 13.
He said the new Dubai location would set the stage for future expansion of the Junoon brand, which has been awarded a coveted Michelin star annually since its opening in 2011, under the guidance of corporate chef Vikas Khanna.
“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 expat community, Dubai stood out as the site of the second Junoon,” said Bhardwaj.
“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,” he added.
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.
As the first extension of brand Junoon, which means “passion,” 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, while the remaining will be 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 an extensive wine selection and innovative cocktails.
For the Dubai restaurant, architect and designer Tarik Currimbhoy is fashioning a contemporary design in the 5,000-square-foot space, which will accommodate 145 seats.
The Manhattan Junoon’s “tree of life” theme will be conveyed with bronze palm trees symbolic of Dubai, as well as centuries-old Burma teak arches from an Indian mansion acting as a counterpoint to the modern motif throughout the restaurant, which will have a color palette comprising rich purple, red and gold hues.
Like its New York counterpart, the Dubai restaurant will also have an open kitchen. Junoon will join Shangri-La’s collection of eight restaurants and bars and will be situated on the third floor of the hotel, located at 1 Sheikh Zayed Rd.
The address of the original Junoon is 27 W. 24th St, New York, NY 10010. For more information, call (212) 490-2100 or visit www.junoonnyc.com.