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Zuma opens its latest beachside outpost in Cannes

Rainer Becker , the Co-Founder of Zuma Restaurants on launching the new beachside Zuma in Cannes.

Talk us through your background.

Growing up in Germany, I honed my culinary skills in various kitchens, eventually joining the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Cologne in 1989 where I began to work with Asian flavours. My career took a pivotal turn in 1992 when I became Executive Chef at the Park Hyatt Sydney, also earning the title of Executive Caterer of the Year. In 1994, I moved to the Park Hyatt Tokyo, where I launched five restaurants and immersed myself in Japanese culinary traditions for six years. The rich history and disciplined excellence of Japanese cuisine deeply inspired me. In 2001, a chance meeting with investor Arjun Waney led to the founding of Azumi Limited, and in 2002, Zuma London was born.

Its success spurred the creation of Roka and Shochu Lounge two years later. Today, there are twenty-four ZUMAs and twelve ROKAs worldwide, in cities including Dubai, Hong Kong, and Miami. In 2013, I introduced Oblix at The Shard, offering a dual dining experience with upscale, sophisticated urban dining. Later, I launched Inko Nito in Soho, London, in 2018, an approachable, relaxed restaurant in Soho that serves as a great introduction to our brands. We are proud of what we have achieved and continue to work hard to expand the brand into new and exciting markets.

What inspired you to launch Zuma Cannes?

France has always been on our radar, and when the opportunity arose to open a Zuma at the prestigious Palm Beach in Cannes we jumped at the chance. Our other Mediterranean locations – Capri, Porto Cervo and Mykonos are hugely popular, so it felt like a natural progression. Cannes epitomises everything Zuma stands for – sophistication paired with a sense of infectious energy. Our new venue there has the most stunning view of the Cote d’Azur, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from day one.

Zuma Cannes

What are some of the key dishes to try at the restaurant.

You can’t go wrong with any of the Zuma signatures, especially my all-time favourite dish, tori no tebasaki – chicken wings with sake, sea salt and lime. The tuna and salmon tartare with oscietra caviar is always a crowd pleaser, and for something sweet the exotic fruits pavlova with cherry blossom chantilly and mango sorbet is a perfect end to the meal during the summer months, and exclusive to Zuma Cannes.

The Zuma menu has evolved since its launch – could you elaborate.

The Zuma menu has always kept its consistency on many levels as you will always find Zuma signature dishes on the menu of every location. However, we are always introducing new dishes to evolve the concept and take it to the next level, working with local produce in each new market we enter.

The restaurant is known for its beautifully crafted interiors – what was the creative process behind the space?

The brand adheres to a classic, simple, and timeless design philosophy and the essence of Zuma is seen in the use of four natural materials: glass, granite, steel and wood. Our design philosophy mirrors our food philosophy – appreciating quality and never being over complicated. One of the features I love the most is the entrance to the venue which runs through a low-ceiling tunnel, it’s a passageway intended to transition your mind from the mundane outside world and allows you to enter in both body and consciousness into the new surroundings. Zuma Cannes is truly one of a kind, and with an expansive terrace that overlooks the Mediterranean coastline it’s the perfect vantage spot to catch a sunset.

The restaurant has a full sushi and robata counter – how is this a crucial aspect of the experience.

The sushi and robata counters are pivotal to the ethos of Zuma and provide the authentic Japanese experience that we look to emulate. I think it’s one of the best places to sit in the restaurant, being directly in front of the chef means it’s the most advantageous spot for the full Zuma experience, relaxed and informal, plus you can’t book the counter – we always have a place for walk ins.

Zuma Dessert

The interiors have shades of blue in its furnishings – how is this an important element?

The moment I touched down in the Cote D’Azur I was immediately inspired by the natural landscape. The blue details within the furniture at Zuma Cannes have been purposely curated to reflect the Mediterranean coastline. Everything about the design of the venue has been carefully considered so that the architecture and design blends harmoniously with the natural surroundings. Even the intricate lattice work integrates the indoor and outdoor spaces, creating a continuous flow – it’s an ancient Japanese technique called ‘Shakkei,’ meaning ‘borrowed landscape.’

The Palm Beach is a massive entertainment fun-filled haven – how did you decide this location?

We could’ve never turned down the opportunity to have a restaurant in such an iconic and historic site, the location is second to none. We’re also in very good company in Palm Beach, with many of the other restaurants sharing in the same qualities and values as us.

“Cannes epitomises everything Zuma stands for – sophistication paired with a sense of infectious energy.”

How do you feel that the expansion of Zuma has reflected on your sites in the UAE?

Zuma Dubai and Zuma Abu Dhabi are institutions of the company, they both changed the culinary scenes in their respective cities and continue to provide the consistent service, food and drinks that the people of the UAE have welcomed over the past decade. This year we celebrated 10 years of Zuma Abu Dhabi – something we are very proud of and look forward to many more. Our UAE clientele is very loyal, and we have the pleasure of welcoming them into all our venues across Europe as they travel during the summer months.

What is next for you?

There’s no slowing down for us. The highly anticipated Zuma Beach House will open in Dubai and bring a fresh take on the beach club scene, and we also look forward to our largest restaurant to date opening later this year, Zuma Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. New projects will continue to take us across the globe, with our first venture into Central America with Zuma Cabo. Roka, the sister brand of Zuma, will continue its global expansion as it already has a stronghold in the GCC in Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi and Dubai.

Zuma Beachside

This is ‘The Summer Escape Issue’ – where do you plan on travelling to this Summer?

We are blessed to have seasonal pop-up venues in so many amazing locations across Europe. I look forward to visiting our sites in Ibiza, Mykonos, Porto Cervo, Capri and Zuma Munich that has opened just in time for the EUROs. As well as this we opened Roka in Santorini for the first time this summer and I can’t wait to experience the view of the Caldera from the restaurant.

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Images: Supplied 


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