Chef Akmal Anuar, partner at Goldfish Sushi & Yakitori, has over 20 years of culinary experience and takes pride in having worked with renowned chefs such as Dan Hunter, Luis Andoni Aduriz and Yasuhiro Sasajima.
Born in Singapore, he started his culinary journey at an early age, helping out at his parent’s hawker stall, which inspired him to be a chef.
Having his own style and identity, Akmal was the head chef for over seven years at the famous Iggy’s Restaurant in Singapore, recognised in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, securing the 26th position in 2012 and voted No.1 Restaurant in Asia.
While at Iggy’s, he cooked for dignitaries and celebrities including the late Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding father. In Singapore, he participated in exhibitions and culinary competitions such as the San Pellegrino cooking cup and represented the country in the San Sebastian Gastronomica. He displayed his culinary skills alongside legendary chefs like Tetsuya Wakuda of Tetsuya’s Sydney and Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana, to name a few.
In 2014, Anuar moved to Dubai and joined the Starwood Group to head Zengo, Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort and Spa’s Pan-Asian restaurant in collaboration with Richard Sandoval Hospitality. The move to Dubai has taught him business and management essentials to run food and beverage operations. Anuar participated in a culinary convention, Parallelo Norte in Monterrey Mexico alongside Joan Roca of El Cellar de Can Roca.
In late 2016, he established 3Fils located in the Jumeirah Fishing Harbor, an original homegrown concept. It was listed among the 10 coolest places to eat by Forbes magazine in 2019 and made it to the 50 Best discovery list by The World’s 50 Best.
In 2019, he set up White Rice Consultancy, offering food and beverage consultancy, concept creation, brand management and joint ventures with projects now underway in the UAE and in Singapore. The year 2021 saw a collaboration between Chef Anuar and Sunset Hospitality Group, with the opening of Goldfish Sushi & Yakitori, a new dining concept at Galleria Mall, which has introduced food lovers to the true taste of Japan.
How would you describe Goldfish?
Goldfish Sushi & Yakitori is about value and elegance. Gold is about being premium, which we relate to the quality of our food and service and the goldfish itself brings luck. It’s a dining concept that introduces true Japanese flavours to the UAE’s culinary scene. Inspired by the authentic Japanese dishes, this new eatery offers families, friends, business partners, visitors and tourists a contemporary dining experience in a relaxing atmosphere.
Tell us more about your journey before landing at Goldfish.
Goldfish Sushi & Yakitori is a joint venture between my firm, White Rice Consultancy, and Sunset Hospitality Group. We both believe in this collaboration, which aims to offer a different, new dining concept to Dubai.
The expertise and skill that were incorporated in launching Goldfish Sushi & Yakitori will enhance the UAE’s dynamic F&B market. I’m truly delighted that this concept has come into fruition and look forward to our successful partnership.
What inspires you when you’re creating dishes?
Ingredients always come first; seasonal produce is at its peak. I prioritise flavour and freshness over gimmicks and presentation.
What are your bestsellers?
Currently, our menu is diverse, featuring small plates and different bites. I don’t really have a bestseller because our concept is for guests to relax and order their dishes as they prefer.
How do you keep things fresh at the restaurant?
A restaurant needs to be busy to have ingredients move. It’s all in the mechanics of running the restaurant properly, doing the menu engineering, sourcing of produce and even positioning the concept.
How do you plan on further evolving the concept?
We just recently opened, so we don’t have any long-term plans yet. I want to focus on this brand, make it a name on its own and probably, in a couple of years, open more outlets in the region and abroad.