Melbourne seafood restaurant The Atlantic is set to open its doors in Souk Al Bahar in the space that has been occupied by Thai restaurant brand Mango Tree for the past nine years.
The concept is to be franchised to Solutions Leisure, the company behind Dubai homegrown venues Q43 in Media One Hotel and Lock, Stock & Barrel in Grand Millennium Tecom, and the franchisee of Asia Asia in Pier 7 and Karma Kafe, also in Souk Al Bahar.
Set to open by the end of September, the restaurant will seat 200 inside and on its terrace overlooking The Dubai Fountain.
Commenting on how the new venture came about, Freek Teusink director of Solutions Leisure told Catering News: “We had seen Atlantic before and we thought it was a great brand. We spoke with the owner and the click was there; they saw what we do, so we already had this [relationship].
“When we looked at real estate we always thought it needs water at least, it needs a terrace and then we knew Mango Tree was going out. Of course we already rent Karma Kafe in Souk Al Bahar and Asia Asia in Pier 7 from Emaar Hospitality so we had that relationship too and they were very happy for us to take [the restaurant].”
Designed by Amsterdam-based Eleven, the upscale venue will have “slightly industrial” interiors.
The menu will be a reduced version of the original in Melbourne, and will be developed over time to reflect local tastes.
With 70% fish and seafood, and 30% meat and vegetarian, items will include langoustines, fish & chips, and a selection of oysters at the brand’s Oyster Bar & Grill.
Yorkshire-born celebrity chef Donovan Cooke, who is at the helm of the Melbourne kitchen, will be in charge of menu creation for the venue.
An on-premises chef is currently being sought to head up culinary operations in Dubai, and Solutions Leisure’s executive chef will also be involved.
Teusink commented: “We are in the process [of appointing a head chef]. That person will be trained in Melbourne and then brought out here but we have a great group chef. Asia Asia and Karma Kafe are known for their good food, including sushi, so we’re very confident that it will be a big success.”
Teusink believes that in Dubai, there is still a gap in the market for a great seafood restaurant, and this, combined with the prime real estate acquired, will make the concept a great success.
“If you ask which is the best seafood restaurant in Dubai, I wouldn’t know. We want to be the first choice for a great meal, and fish is great to watch the fountains with. I think a lot of people will enjoy it,” Teusink added.
Solutions leisure continues to grow its presence in Dubai through homegrown concepts and franchise agreements, and Teusink reveals the target is to expand by two to three venues per year. “We really like what we’re doing, we’ve got a great team and we’re expanding it on a daily basis and it’s our vision to grow by two to three venues a year if the right real estate comes up.
“It’s very exciting. We have a lot of concepts in mind. We have great partners we have spoken with – other franchisors – and if the right real estate comes up we’re always ready to go.”