Nobu Goes to Riyadh

Nouf bint Mohammed

Nobu Matsuhisa is expanding again globally. He is planning a Hotel Nobu in Las Vegas with Caesar’s Palace in place of the Centurion Tower. This follows Charlie Palmer‘s success with Charlie Palmer Hotel and great chefs of the past like Auguste Escoffier who, with Cesar Ritz, established the Ritz Hotel Development Company.

But perhaps a more radical step is his plan to open a restaurant in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

According to a press release:

Dhaliliyah is owned by the Her Royal Highness Princess Nouf Bint Mohammed Bin Fahad Al Saud, daughter of His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Fahad bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, the Governor of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The formalization of this agreement embodies the creation of a joint company, Saudi Nobu, to develop the distinctive Nobu Hotel brand in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, whose facilities will include Nobu Restaurants, operated through the Nobu Hospitality management platform.

Although Riyadh does have a healthy restaurant scene, including other Japanese restaurant, it is not popular with celebrity chefs. There are festivals in which celebrity chefs make appearances, but no other celebrity chef has a restaurant in the capital. It could be because there is a ban on alcohol in the Kingdom (no sake or beer with your sushi), or a reflection of the unsettled life in the Middle East – wars, terrorism, uprising, etc.

The question is, how much time will Nobu himself spend in Riyadh?

Press releases:
Nobu Hospitality (PDF)

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