Nicholas Couvaras, managing director of F&B consultancy, Kroma, believes that diners today can travel the world without even having to leave Dubai
As a guest of a restaurant with a specific cuisine-related theme, we now expect to be lifted away to a far off place through interior design that reflects the culture, authentic staff with local character and food served just as it would be in its country of origin. Eating out in Dubai is a way of escaping the city and transporting yourself to another place. Whether you’re looking for a quick Parisian lunch or an evening in a South American city, Dubai has a dining destination to suit all tastes. With the trend towards more authentic design and intriguing menus, there are hundreds of F&B outlets in the city, such as Eat Greek and Tribes, that are true to the cuisine they offer, helping diners feel the experience of that country when they visit.
And it’s not only the menu that counts. Living in a city bursting with food and beverage concepts, as residents we are now getting a little picky and want more for our money. No longer do we accept a great tasting dish as the standard for a good evening out. We now expect more of an experience, that not only entails outstanding food, but also great service, unique interior design and an authentic identity, all perfectly combined to create the ultimate guest experience. Concept creation and branding is now becoming so precise and authentic to the country of food origin, that you can feel like you are already there. Le Petite Maison is a perfect example of how all of the key elements combine to create a synchronised guest experience.
More authentic experiences – far removed from the international franchise idea we are used to seeing here – are also being seen in fine-dining restaurants, such as the newly opened Siraj in Souk Al Bahar. Along with Siraj, Logma in Box Park also demonstrates an increase in the amount of homegrown Emirati concepts cropping up, showing consumer demand for a truly authentic taste of the UAE. And as the expectations of residents and tourists increase, we are seeing more European and Western styles of entertaining opening up, with places like Ripe Market, Jumeirah Fishing Harbour and The Beach at JBR creating a varied “outdoor living” offer. New neighbourhoods and their restaurant concepts are now offering guests an escape: walking down JBR or through Citywalk, you do feel like you have left Dubai.
We crave character and personality in our gastronomic trips and urge restaurants to stand out from the crowd and offer us something totally different. As more F&B concepts and cuisines ‘trend’ around the world, such as the latest to hit Dubai – Latin American food, and in particular Peruvian in the likes of Coya – we can expect more interesting, authentic and culturally accurate places to open their doors in Dubai.
As the saying goes: “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things”. With that in mind, it’s now time to leave your passport at home and take a trip somewhere around the world without even having to exit the UAE.
About the author: Nicholas Couvaras is the managing director of Kroma, a dedicated F&B advisory consultancy, which offers the entire ‘kitchen sink’ of services, from initial concept development to optimising existing portfolios and localising international concepts to the Middle East.