Bulldozer Group was busy in the Middle East in 2016 with the opening of Uzbek restaurant, Eshak, the refurbishment of Toko and the signing of Novikov in Saudi Arabia. Co-founder Alexander Orlov catches up with Catering News to discuss plans for the year ahead
How have Bulldozer’s concepts been performing in Dubai?
Our concepts are very successful. We opened the first Toko three years ago, and then opened Novikov, Cipriani, and Sass Café, so we did it step by step and now we’ve decided to refurbish Toko.
What is the objective of the Toko refurbishment?
The objective was to create a more colourful atmosphere and design. We have also changed the food concept and the menu, adding more pan-Asian and Chinese dishes. We’ve introduced a dim sum section and have brought in very experienced Chinese dim sum chefs who prepare it in front of guests at the new open kitchen. Following the refurbishment, Toko has become more sophisticated and we have lowered our prices.
What new design features have you introduced?
We have changed everything! We brought in completely new furniture from Europe and China so we have a totally different concept now, which is very colourful and comfortable. We also have a new, sophisticated terrace.
Tell me about your latest Dubai opening, Eshak?
Eshak, which opened in December, is a very popular concept we have brought from other countries; we already have it in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The concept is a mixture of Arabian food with some Uzbek dishes, which are also very tasty and interesting. They are very similar to Arabic dishes with rice and meat. The venue also has a market in its entrance, with fruit, vegetables and other foods on offer. The inside is very colourful, with big sofas and chairs, so it is a comfortable place to spend time, smoke shisha and eat. Eshak has 80 seats inside and 100 seats outside.
What items will be on Eshak’s menu?
Chef Mahmoud Efranjiey, who is at the helm of the kitchen, will offer dishes including pilafs, kebabs, veal and lamb dumplings, baklava and chak-chak.
What are your plans for expansion?
We want to develop Eshak in this region; in the Emirates and in some other countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Iran, and we have signed a new Novikov in Riyadh, which is set to open in September. We also want to see how the re-launch of Toko goes and then maybe we will develop it.
Do you have any new concepts in the pipeline?
Next year we’re going to open Crab Market, a seafood and crab kitchen. The outlet is currently under construction in DIFC. We may also develop our Japanese concept Tanuki. We have more than 50 of them across the US and Russia, so we are negotiating bringing this to Dubai.
Bulldozer Group is a Dubai-based investment and brand management hospitality company headed by Evgeny Kuzin, Maxim Vlasov and Alexander Orlov. The group specialises in introducing the Middle East to international hospitality brands and since its inception in December 2011, has opened Movida, VIP Room, Downtown Toko, Sass Café, Novikov, Cipriani and Socialista Lounge in Dubai.