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Intersect by Lexus is an edgy design space-cum restaurant in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) that serves as a casual networking hub for connoisseurs of design, art, fashion, culture, music, architecture and technology — and who also enjoy good food. As I walked into the restaurant, it felt like I was confronted with a LED projection of a shiny Lexus car against the warm backdrop of a dining space. This is a visual illusion cleverly crafted by world-renowned interior designer Masamichi Katayama. In reality, the space is split into two levels — the upper level is a library of design and art books while the basement is a futuristic garage that showcases Lexus concept cars and is also used for various art installations.
The car that currently holds centre stage is a shimmering blue LF-LC concept car, which was recently introduced at the Detroit Motor Show. The car will go into production next year.
''Lexus wanted to create an environment where people get a chance to experience the creativity and the ethos of Lexus in a subtle way,'' says Raffaela Oechsner, Brand Manager. ''Hence a lot of attention to detail has got into the design of the interiors — 250 parts of five different Lexus models weighing almost two tonnes have been hand-painted and form the flooring below the glass panel on which the Lexus LF-LC stands. Another example is the signature spindle grille of Lexus forming the bamboo panels in the windows.''
The restroom had a playful wall panel created using 1,452 miniature cars from around the world, out of which 200 are Lexus models.
Along with the design of the space, a lot of thought has gone into the food. The menu, by chef Tomas Reger, who is one of the region's celebrated independent chefs, and his sous chef Diogo Profirio, draw inspiration from raw, healthy and organic food.
They managed to dispel my myths on kale and other greens with clever use of local ingredients such as a Tahini paste whizzed with sunflower oil or a dehydrated linseed wafer acting as a crunchy filler. Some clever cooking techniques have been applied to uplift the flavours in each dish and the interaction between the kitchen staff and diners livens up the space.
While the basement has an edgy feel, the dining space recreates the warmth of a living room — white book shelves, casual seating and a long banquette facing a cold cooking station and coffee machines. The menu is divided into small and large plates with emphasis on sharing. The business lunch menu (around Dh110 per person) appears to be a smart option for those who want to have a sampling from the menu.
A wall has also been designated for retail of exclusive handcrafted items that relate to Japan and its culture.
General Manager Benjamin Nicholas says the venue has become a very popular lunch spot in DIFC despite opening only in December. Unlike the other Intersect by Lexus in Tokyo that occupies a mammoth space and is split into two levels, including a coffee lounge, the one in Dubai has a maximum of 56 covers and feels very warm and inviting. I obviously see why; it's more than just the seduction of a luxury car and edgy design, it is also a space — the third space as Lexus calls it — where one can have healthy and wholesome food.
Have a look at another hidden gem - Friends Avenue Café located in Jumeirah Lakes Towers
Source: Ishita B. Saha, Special to Property Weekly
The author is the founder of Foodemagdxb.com and the author of ishitaunblogged.com
This section features lesser-known places and events that are delightfully distinct in their own way. It could be a quaint little café or simply a charming lake. If it's got character and brings a smile to your face, it's a hidden gem that will find a place on this page. If you know of a hidden gem, email the Editor at: email@example.com