5 minutes with… Alvaro Reyes — Magazine — The Galleria Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi
5 minutes with… Alvaro Reyes
5 minutes with… Alvaro Reyes

5 minutes with… Alvaro Reyes

Dining | May 9, 2018

Star sushi chef Alvaro Reyes of 99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant believes that we will one day eat food in the form of a pill. Until then, he will continue to create ‘haute cuisine’ for diners at The Galleria on Al Maryah Island

Sushi was originally a quick snack that has grown over the years into an art form and luxury dining experience. No better testament to this is 99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant at The Galleria on Al Maryah Island. A good sushi experience relies on fresh fish, a little creativity and fabulous surroundings, all attributes of the ‘go-to’ spot in the capital’s luxury shopping destination.

“Creativity is key”, according to Executive Chef Alvaro Reyes, who has been redesigning the menu for the past eight months. The first expansion of the internationally renowned eatery outside of Spain, 99 Sushi Bar hits all the right spots for lovers of Japanese cuisine.

The ‘haute couture’ of the food world, the fine-dining restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, serving up 99 Sushi’s famous crispy tiger prawn tempura dipped in its secret homemade spicy sauce. The eel, seared foie-gras nigiri and toro sashimi are all ‘must-try’ dishes, take Alvaro’s word for it – we would!

We caught up with Spaniard for a quick chat about his sushi bar, shopping for fussy chefs and eating like an astronaut.

Grilled toro and smoked Iberian air dried beef temaki with a chili tomato emulsion and aromatised herbs
Alaska king crab gunkan

What inspires your food? 
I view thousands of photos on the internet every day and inject creativity where I can.

Favourite piece of kitchen equipment or gadget? 
I guess I have to say the computer, because it keeps everything in check. But before the days of technology, it was tiny brushes to draw on the plates.

Best piece of advice you would give a home enthusiast? 
Take all of the time you want to cook, because in the business, we have to do it running around and we can’t always enjoy it as much as when we are cooking at home.

Do you have a tip for a novice chef just getting into the business? 
Be patient, as well as a maniac for organisation.

What products should we be buying in the UAE to best make sushi meals? 
Fresh fish from the market is the best place to start. Otherwise, pop in and we will serve you the best sushi in town!

Where do you normally do your shopping and are you a fussy shopper?
In general, it does not take me long to buy my shopping, but I am very fussy in the fruit section and like to take my time picking the freshest produce.

Who in the food world do you most admire?
Chef Ferran Adria.

What do you think is the most challenging ingredient to work with?
Fresh fish, because you have to get it just right. Too much and you’re doomed.

Warm Nigiris

What is going to be the next big thing? 
As the world seems to be getting faster and faster, I think we’ll soon be eating food in pill form, like astronauts.

What do you like to eat when you’re at home?
Pizza – it’s my guilty pleasure.

Favourite cookbooks?
The Flavour Thesaurus, by Niki Segnit

Where do you see yourself in five years?
A family, house on the beach, and of course, cooking fabulous food!

What do you most love about your job? 
I love that we have no choice but to work as a team, just like footballers!

If you had just one wish, what would it be?
Greater control of the environment.

99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant is located in The Galleria, Level 2 and is open from 12.30pm to 3.30pm and 7pm to 12am daily.

reservations_ad@99sushibar.com | +97126723333

Haute cuisine - Alvaro’s culinary creativity can be seen is his sea urchin tempura, which is served on a delicate egg yolk, soy, lemon and butter sauce.