Take A Look Inside Miami’s Upcoming Members-Only Restaurant, HAIKU

HaikuPhoto Credit: Scott Kester Design

Miami’s hip and artistic neighborhood, Wynwood, is getting an exciting new addition in early 2021: a new members-only Private Restaurant Experience™ (P.R.E.), HAIKU. The upcoming restaurant will deliver in the form of an upscale and exclusive Japanese Kaiseki-inspired concept. Owner Jess Varughese is hedging his bets that in the wake of pandemic shutdowns taking a toll on the hospitality industry, an intimate and bespoke dining experience will offer more enticement than traditional restaurant concepts for diners looking to get out in a safe and memorable way. The clean, sleek and modern space—conceptualized by Scott Kester Design—will seat only 16 guests at a time, including an authentic chef’s counter, with 10-12 Kaiseki-inspired courses paired with sake, wine and champagne pairings from Chef Albert Diaz.

In light of the upcoming opening and the exclusive nature of the project, Haute Living sat down with HAIKU owner Jess Varughese to get the inside scoop on what’s to come from the soon-to-be new hot spot in the Magic City.

HL: How did you come to the decision to make HAIKU a members-only experience?

JV: With the pandemic, the dining world has changed dramatically. While people still crave an amazing dining experience and the ability to socialize with their family and close associates, safety has become the primary factor in their decision making. We, therefore, decided to open our amazing Japanese dining concept, emphasizing safety and privacy as a members-only experience. Memberships will be offered to a discerning few, who in the current environment, favor a private, safe, bespoke and exclusive restaurant experience for their selected family members, friends and business associates. Our intimate and beautifully designed space fits the members-only concept perfectly.

HL: What did the pandemic effects on the hospitality industry teach you about your business during this time?

JV: That the only constant is change and the ability to pivot in order to create an offering that is suited to the times is critical. We have an amazing concept—the first of its kind in Miami, emphasizing a modern interpretation of Japanese Kaiseki cuisine, in a beautifully designed and intimate space where the barriers between guests, chefs and sommeliers are eliminated. This design creates a truly immersive experience.  We have a world-class team. Adapting this concept to a new model of a members-only Private Restaurant Experience™ for 2021, not only allows us to fill a need for amazing dining experiences that are private and safe, but also allows us to create jobs, contribute to the local economy and give back to the community around us. 

HaikuPhoto Credit: Scott Kester Design

HL: What will HAIKU add to Miami’s dining scene? 

JV: As Miami’s first Kaiseki-inspired Japanese restaurant designed around an intimate 16-seat chef’s tasting counter, Haiku adds a more personalized component to Miami’s dining scene, with thoughtfully curated tasting menus developed by our amazing chefs and sommeliers; along with our private concierge who works with our members to create tailored touches for the evening. In the spirit of Kaiseki-inspired cuisine, we showcase dishes utilizing hyper-seasonal ingredients at their peak and pair these dishes with curated wine, sake and champagne tastings. This allows us the opportunity to give our members who are an integral part of Miami’s dining scene, a new and exciting Private Restaurant Experience™ each time they dine with us.  

HL: What is your favorite aspect of the dining experience there?

JV: The intimacy of Haiku’s design encourages interaction between guests, chefs and sommeliers. Our guests can closely watch each dish being prepared, as our chefs serve and describe each dish. Our sommeliers are ready with thoughtfully paired glasses of wine, sake and champagne to match each dish and discuss why they were chosen. It is a truly memorable experience with a world-class team.

HaikuPhoto Credit: Scott Kester Design

HL: What are some of the benefits members will get? 

JV: 

  • Access to the restaurant is only offered to a limited group of members for 2021
  • Haiku only caters to a single reservation each night for one member and their guests, emphasizing privacy and safety
  • Members will have access on a first-come, first-serve basis to curated “pop-up” dates where Haiku will showcase collaboration events with selected global chefs and winemakers
  • Direct and personal access to Haiku’s in-house concierge service for reservations and custom requests, such as options for luxury transportation to and from the restaurant
  • Members can gift their evenings to another party or charity of their choosing
  • Members will have priority access and a separate reservations line when Haiku opens to the public in 2022

For more information, please visit www.haikurestaurants.com. To inquire about membership, please email paige@hauteliving.com.

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