The London based award winning Japanese restaurant ZUMA will open at Palazzo Fendi, Rome. The launch in early March 2016 will mark the iconic restaurant’s tenth location in its international collection and the first in Italy.
Zuma was created and co-founded by acclaimed chef Rainer Becker, following many years spent in Tokyo immersed in the purity of the Japanese food culture. Zuma takes its inspiration from the informal and popular Japanese izakaya’s, where guests enjoy a relaxed dining and drinking style that uniquely embraces every element of Japanese cooking under one roof. Zuma takes this ideology and, with gracious service, in an elegant and contemporary environment, offers modern Japanese dining that is authentic, but not traditional.
The menu at Zuma combines a variety of dishes from its three kitchens: the main kitchen, the sushi counter and the robata grill. The Japanese robata grill is at the very heart of the restaurant where guests can watch the flames and action as the chefs prepare their dishes in open view. Rome, as always, takes centre stage and the robata has been positioned deliberately to enjoy the views of the bustling streets below linking the city with the soul of the restaurant. In 2002 when the first Zuma opened in London, Rainer Becker introduced robatayaki cooking to Europe. The first restaurant of its kind, Zuma used the precision of the Japanese charcoal grill, which utilises varying heights to cook with exacting accuracy. Guests can observe the precision and theater of robatayaki cooking as chefs prepare signature dishes such as grilled rib eye steak with wafu sauce and jumbo tiger prawn with yuzu pepper. The menu at Zuma will also feature dishes including suzuki no sashimi – seabass sashimi with yuzu and salmon roe and tori no tebasaki – sake glazed chicken wings, sea salt and lime. Embracing the unique dining experience, guests will be offered dishes that are brought to the table steadily and continuously throughout the meal, differing from the typical starter then main course menu structure. An exciting and innovative range of drinks perfectly complements the cuisine.
Zuma at Palazzo Fendi is designed by Noriyoshi Muramatsu of Tokyo-based Studio Glitt, who has worked alongside Rainer Becker realising his vision of Zuma since its first opening in 2002. The space will capture the style and elegance of Zuma worldwide, yet will embrace elements exclusive to Rome. Whilst respecting the cultural heritage and ancestry of the Palazzo Fendi building, Muramatsu will incorporate the four elements of Earth, Fire, Water and Air, drawing on the artistic beauty of nature. The extraordinary space, located in the historical heart of Rome, will cover two floors with a roof terrace overlooking the ‘eternal’ city.
Immediately upon arrival at Zuma, the design elements will begin to unfold. Inspired by the city itself, Rome was the greatest influence for the design. Zuma at Palazzo Fendi has a unique perspective of the city and this ancient backdrop and roof top views formed the inspiration for the play of light and materials used. The reception desk, hand carved from a solid block of wood is contrasted by a backdrop of angled Kawara tiles from the rooftops of Tokyo. Here, guest are welcomed and taken through a curved walkway to the restaurant; the walls, on one side, are covered with hundreds of individually designed, handmade, Tohiki ceramic bricks and on the other by hanging bamboo. This textural contrast and celebration of natural elements continues throughout the restaurant and roof terrace.
Unique to Rome, the restaurant will feature a private table within the wine cellar seating up to 8 guests. In a country that produces some of the world’s greatest wines and steeped in a history of viniculture, guests can dine surrounded by glass ceiling-to-floor walls celebrating Italy’s finest vintages and boutique wines. The restaurant will be bathed in natural daylight highlighting the textures of the carved granite and handmade floor to ceiling bamboo lanterns.
On the fifth floor the lounge and bar are surrounded by a roof terrace with unparalleled views of Rome from the unique perspective of the historical heart of the city. The bar will serve Zuma style sunset aperitivo with the resident DJ bringing the vibrancy and energy of Zuma to this timeless and romantic location, well into the small hours.
Accessed by an independent entrance in Via della Fontanella Borghese, Zuma will be open for lunch Tuesday – Sunday from 12:00 midday to 14:30 and will be open for dinner Tuesday to Sunday from 19:30 to 23:00.