Tatami, one of Kuwait's newest Japanese restaurants opened its doors in March 2011, bringing with it a fresh and new menu of contemporary Japanese food to the country. Housed in Sharq’s new business district, the Kuwaiti-born concept reflects a contemporary take on Japanese cuisine created by Chef Danna Al Tourah who is also co-owner of the restaurant.
Designed by talented Kuwaiti interior architect Jassim Al Shehab, Tatami’s dimly lit and minimalist interiors has made it a pleasant escape for those whose daily lives revolve in the midst of the business district. You can tell from its exterior that the place will be a delight for the eyes; a relaxing type of delight. The color palette is a blend of neutrals encasing contemporary furniture that is as comfortable as it is attractive.
Once you step into Tatami, which is the word for a type of mat used in traditional Japanese-style flooring, you will no doubt experience a sense of calm that is befitting to the appetizing menu they serve. Chef Danna believes in using only the freshest of ingredients and makes everything, from the main dishes down to the condiments, from scratch in Tatami's kitchen, a mere 10 meters away from the dining tables.
Al Tourah loves taking Japanese ingredients and working them into bistro-like dishes, serving all the dishes tapas-style, for everyone to share. Tatami’s menu is a compilation of Japanese ingredients whipped up and served in a contemporary way. There are classics on the menu, like the gyozas, negimaki, yakitore and teriyaki dishes, but Tatami has definitely made a name for itself for its original dishes, which are playful and fresh twists on classics, like their Sesame Nori Chips, Pan-seared Wagyu with Soy Reduction Sauce and Tempura Fries, Shiitake Mushroom Rice, and Green Tea Mascarpone Cheesecake.
As for the chef's special recommendations, she suggests customers start with Sesame Nori Chips, Sweet Chili Shrimp, Negimaki and Ebi Gyoza. For salads try the Spinach & Shiitake Mushroom Salad and for the Maki rolls don't miss the Crispy Almond Maki, Exotic Roll or Naked Salmon. When it comes to the main dish, Al Tourah recommends the Lime-glazed Salmon Steak or Pan-Seared Wagyu Steak. And for dessert? The Green Tea Mascarpone Cheesecake.
Almost every dish at Tatami is meant to be shared, so don't feel guilty if you ordered all of the above (and more!). The restaurant also serves as a venue for private functions, replete with customized menus.
Tatami is located at Shaymaa Tower, Omar Bin Al Khattab Street, Sharq, Kuwait. Tel: (+965) 22251266
– Shabana Shaikh
Photography by Hasan Younes for Khaleejesque