An outlet of the popular Japanese restaurant Nihonbashi in Sri Lanka, is now open at the Marina @ CROSSROADS Maldives. Named Nihonbashi Blue, the restaurant was officially inaugurated yesterday (21 January) by the Japanese ambassador to the Maldives, Keiko Yanai, and the state minster of foreign affairs, Ahmed Khaleel. 

The first Nihonbashi restaurant was opened in Sri Lanka in 1995 by the Sri Lankan-Japanese chef Dharshan Munidasa with the intention of bridging the two diverse cultures together. Nihonbashi literally means “Japan bridge”. Since its inception, the restaurant has been listed among Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant for 6 years, and in 2014, Mr Munidasa was awarded the Minister’s Award by the Japanese government for his efforts in promoting Japanese cuisine to the rest of the world. 

According to Mr Munidasa, the new Nihonbashi restaurant’s name Blue was inspired by the shades of blues of the Maldives. The authentic Japanese restaurant also features Tatami style seating, a first in the Maldives.

“We are very proud to be here in the beautiful country of Maldives. We named the restaurant Nihonbashi because we are the bridge to Japanese cuisine, And “Blue” because we are inspired by the ocean. The Japanese love fishing, and we love diving and snorkelling. So we want to bring in real Japanese cuisine philosophies and marry our beliefs with the ingredients of Maldives. Thank you Singha family for accepting us as family, it’s been an amazing journey.”

Mr Munidasa also thanked the ambassador for attending the opening ceremony and for her support, and said that he has plans to expand the menu to compliment the climate and the scenery of the Maldives.

Munidasa believes the Maldives and Japan have an interesting culinary connection. Katsuobushi or dried bonito flakes is one of the most important components of Japanese cuisine, and chef Munidasa believes that the ingredient finds its roots in the Maldives’ smoked tuna. 

The dishes are inspired by local ingredients, such as fresh tuna, lobster and salt from the Maldivian waters. Nihonbashi also serves wagyu, the world-renowned premium Japanese beef, and the restaurant campaigns against fake wagyu, assuring that customers will be served dishes made with authentic ingredients.

Following the opening ceremony, the guests were treated to a buffet style dinner featuring sushi and sashimi, along with Nihonbashi’s signature dishes, complimented with sake and wine. 

CROSSROADS Maldives is the country’s first multi-island fully integrated leisure destination. Located in the Emboodhoo lagoon in kaafu atoll, CROSSROADS can be reached by a 15-minute speedboat ride from the Velana International airport and the capital city Male’.

CROSSROADS features the vibrant SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, and the Hard Rock Hotel Maldives. The Marina @ CROSSROADS features the world-famous Café del Mar, the legendary Hard Rock Cafe, retail stores and diverse dining options. Visit http://www.crossroadsmaldives.com/ for more information.