THE STORY OF GATES HOSPITALITY
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THE LAKES, DUBAI p40
1 | Publique | GATES HOSPITALITY
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LOCAL HEROES: The story of Gates Hospitality
The Gatekeeper...........04 Gates Hospitality........08 Bistro Des Arts..........12 The Black Lion...........20 Folly....................28 Publique.................34 Reform...................40 Ultra....................48 Six Senses...............56 Credits and Acknowledgements Editors: Melanie Mingas, Crystal Chesters Design: CreativeMaul Photography: Abhishek Shroff, Hayder Al-Zuhairi, Sparrows Pearl Events Printed by International Printing Press A huge thank you to the chefs, general managers, and patrons who patiently delivered the colourful stories recounted on these pages and made this project possible.
And thank you so much to my family: The Guide, The Gift, The Inspirer, The Peaceful, The Eminent, The Broadminded, The Cute, The Wisdom, The Organiser, The Beautiful, and The Kindness. Naim Maadad, CEO, Gates Hospitality
First published in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in 2016 by BNC Publishing.
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GATES HOSPITALITY | Publique | 1
uring the creation of Local heroes: The Story of Gates Hospitality, my wife Karen and I along with our two girls Sophie and Brooke gathered at Madinat Jumeirah for a photoshoot, in the site of the company’s latest venture, Folly. And while it was a spectacularly windy day in Dubai, we still couldn’t help marveling once again at that great view of Burj Al Arab, which incidentally marked an important step in my own career history some years ago. However, let me start the story at the beginning. My role as man of the house began long before my two daughters were on the scene, since I was born into a family of three sisters, just a month after the passing of my father. So from a young age, the pressure was on. I began mucking in with my family’s pub and restaurant business in Adelaide, South Australia as a boy, helping out behind the bar, making coffee and washing dishes under the guidance of my uncle Richard, who was my main male role model growing up, and still is to this day. It was never my mother’s wish for me to pursue a career in hospitality due to the long, hard hours associated with the business, and she made this very clear when I dropped out of my economics degree at Flinders University in favour of a hotel management course at Le Cordon Bleu. However, I knew what I wanted then, and I’ve never looked back. While studying, I took on my first role outside of the family business on Hayman Island at
4 | The Gatekeeper | GATES HOSPITALITY
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Brooke, Karen, Naim and Sophie at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai
Hayman Island Resort. My first venture into international hotel companies came when I joined Hilton Worldwide’s Conrad Jupiters in Queensland (now Jupiters Hotel & Casino), where after five years’ hard graft, I was promoted to the position of F&B operations manager. My international adventure began shortly after this in Japan at the Yokohama Bay Sheraton Hotel & Towers where I started out as F&B director and was overwhelmed by the differences in the language, food and lifestyle. However,
once I became acclimatised, I actually found that my management style was a good cultural fit in Japan. Soon thereafter, an old colleague of mine offered me the opportunity to move to Dubai as opening outlets and beverage manager for Jumeirah Group’s Burj Al Arab. I hopped on a plane, and chapter one of my Dubai experience began. Following 12 months with Jumeirah Group I moved back to Hilton Worldwide to open the JBR property in Dubai as deputy
GM – a role I would hold during my next Hilton appointments in Jeddah and then Tokyo, where I reported directly into the vice president of operations, managing an 806-room hotel with one million F&B covers per year. Two years later an offer from Hilton to move to Al Ain didn’t tempt me to leave Tokyo. However, I was at a crossroads in my career, so when the Saudi royal family head-hunted me to manage a 220-key private villa compound in Saudi Arabia, I took the opportunity.
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Starts working in the family business
First role outside of family business: Hayman Island Resor t
Le Cordon Bleu Oxford Surrey University
1968 Naim Maadad is raised in Adelaide, south Australia
R e j o i n i n g H i l t o n Wo r l d w i d e : Deputy general manager at: • Hilton Dubai The Walk • Hilton Jeddah • Hilton Tokyo
Conrad Jupiters, F&B operations manager
International debut - Yokohama Bay Sheraton Hotel & Towers, F&B director
Middle East debut - Burj Al Arab, outlets and be verages manager
First GM role: Sunset Beach Resor t, a private villa complex owned by the Saudi royal family Six Senses Middle E a s t , MD Resor ts, Spas, De velopment
Rixos Hotels & Resorts, COO spa division and vice president of de velopment
Anantara Hotels & Resorts, managing director of spa and vice president operations, Middle East
2013: Ultra Brasserie, Emaar Square
2011: launch of G a t e s H o s p i t a l i t y in Dubai
Reform Social & Grill
Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman
2014 – Ultra Brasserie, Dubai Marina 2015: The Black Lion Bistro Des Ar ts
THE LAKES, DUBAI
2 0 1 6 : Folly and Publique
the adventure continues... 6 | The Gatekeeper | GATES HOSPITALITY
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My big break into the development side of hotels and my first foray into the spa industry came just after that, when I joined Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas to open the group’s Oman and Jordan properties, before being promoted to managing director for the Middle East region . The next stop was Thai hotel brand, Minor International’s Anantara Hotels & Resorts, where I managed the company’s global spa portfolio and its Middle Eastern hotels. However, being based in Bangkok while my wife and the girls were in Australia, wasn’t ideal. An offer to join Turkish group Rixos Hotels & Resorts as COO of the spa division and vice president of development allowed me to move back to Dubai and take the family too. Following decades of building spa and F&B concepts from the ground up, managing operations, negotiating with owners and representing deluxe brands, I decided to put my skills to the test with my own company along with my business partners Salem Shuhaiber and Anwar Sammour. And so, Gates Hospitality was born in Dubai in 2011 with the vision of creating engaging and enriching hospitality experiences like nothing that had existed in the region before. I imagine that not many other hospitality investors have the depth and breadth of industry experience that I have gained throughout the years, and fewer still continue to find it enjoyable, particularly given the increased competition on the market. However, for me, the competition is the most exciting part, the minute you see it as a job, it’s not fun anymore. Hospitality has to be a place where you belong, where you feel you can make a difference, and where you turn up and say, “I want to be here!” – and this is something I still do today, every day. What I’d like to do now is to become more of a strategist as I want the company to continue to grow. It’s for this reason that I’m looking for someone like-minded to take on certain
operational responsibilities, while I fulfil one major outstanding ambition – that of setting up a boutique hotel property. Gates Hospitality will always be about finding a vacuum in the market then creating a solution and making it happen, and to me a boutique hotel is the next untapped opportunity. As the market grows, we grow, so while the first chapters of the Gates Hospitality story are drafted, there are still plenty of blank pages to fill and I will always be on the look-out planning for what is next and continuing to shape the hospitality playground.
Often I reflect on my life and something clear to me is that what matters is not what I am, but rather, who I am. Hence I am always grateful to my heritage, culture, education, faith, health and the unconditional love I share with my family. My motto in life remains the same as it was right back at the start, but now I simply need to start practicing it… Live, laugh, love and work in between. Best wishes,
Naim Maadad GATES HOSPITALITY | The Gatekeeper | 7
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An introduction to Gates Hospitality
8 | Introduction | GATES HOSPITALITY
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ates Hospitality and its founder Naim Maadad are one and the same. The company represents the culmination of the hospitality veteran’s 27-year career in the industry, working across food and beverage, spa and hotels spanning Australia, Asia and the Middle East. Despite his extensive experience internationally, Naim always had his sights set on Dubai. He realised the emirate would provide the creative playground he needed to start up an agile, forward-thinking hospitality investment company. The vision was to help shape the hospitality landscape by creating and introducing engaging concepts that would add value to Dubai’s offer. Right from the start, Gates did things differently. While many brand owners devise a concept and then put it forward for a location, Gates Hospitality does the reverse. Naim’s philosophy is to find a site and study it carefully, identify a vacuum in the market, and then tie these things together with the right brand and the right partners. From signing the lease to designing and manning the concept, to fit-out, nothing is inherited: everything is created. The company therefore has the ultimate vision of where each concept should be, and where it is going. Gates Hospitality started by carrying out consultancy work with the likes of Roberto’s Restaurant
& Lounge and Urban Bistro. And Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman was part of the Gates Hospitality portfolio from the very beginning, with the mother company owning and asset managing the luxury resort and spa. However, the first venture created entirely by Gates from scratch, was Ultra Brasserie on Emaar Square. Naim studied the area in great detail to identify what was needed, and this, he discovered, was something quick, healthy, buzzing, and with great coffee to suit the busy lunch crowd in one of Dubai’s major business districts. The concept was such a success that its main competitor in the area was forced to shut down, and a second Ultra outlet opened in Dubai Marina. The next opportunity was identified at the Lakes Community Centre, where Naim had the vision for Dubai’s first ever gastropub – something reminiscent of his family’s pub and restaurant businesses in Australia. Following this highly successful venture, East London-inspired bar and restaurant, The Black Lion, was developed at H Hotel on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road. The culinary operation of both concepts is overseen by British chef, Ryan Waddell, who has won a string of awards since moving to the UAE from London to open Reform back in 2013. Gates kept making tweaks in line with the maturing market, and when local French brasse-
From signing the lease to designing and manning the concept, to fit-out, nothing is inherited: everything is created
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GATES HOSPITALITY | Introduction | 9
rie, Bistro Des Arts was born on Dubai Marina, the company wanted to ensure that the brand patrons, Jonathan Vercoutere and Julien Pilard from France, were the faces of the neighbourhood eatery from day one – and that they were on-site to offer an authentic French experience to guests first-hand. The latest ventures at Madinat Jumeirah follow a similar business model, with both very much linked to their well-known brand representatives. Publique is the second Dubai concept for Julien and Jonathan, while Nick Alvis and Scott Price – who were behind Dubai’s Table 9 and Taste Kitchen – have been brought on board exclusively to head up playful dining concept, Folly. The strength of Gates is rooted in several factors, the first being its positioning in the local market. A Dubai-founded business, it understands the local community, the local culture, and what the residents of Dubai want. Secondly, Gates has the liquidity to invest without waiting for bank approvals, making it agile, and innovative. And finally, at the head of the company is an individual who has developed through the ranks of the hospitality industry unlike many other investors, and so he knows the game and is well-placed to support his 700+ team members and the stakeholders involved across the portfolio.
Eat/Drink/Belong/ 10 | Introduction | GATES HOSPITALITY
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From a practical perspective, Naim’s years of experience as a hotelier have contributed to his operational strategy of ensuring plenty of synergies across the board at the back-end of the business, while creating variety at the front. IT services, finance and several HR functions are clustered across the brands to ensure maximum capacity from resources. Meanwhile, central purchasing allows each venue access to a wider variety of produce at a better cost, and this value is passed on to customers.
The stories of Six Senses Zighy Bay, Bistro Des Arts, The Black Lion, Reform Social & Grill, Ultra Brasserie, Folly and Publique have been recounted by the people closest to the concepts – the chefs, general managers, and of course, Naim Maadad. These have been weaved together into the pages of this book to form an even larger and more colourful narrative: the story of Gates Hospitality.
However, despite these synergies, every asset must stand on its own, so nothing in the Gates portfolio services or finances another venue. Success is not about numbers and volumes, but about making sure that every outlet sits in line with the original concept, from an experience, brand offering and financial perspective. Most importantly, each brand must have a story to tell that enriches, engages, and allows customers to belong.
At the head of the company is an individual who has developed through the ranks of the hospitality industry unlike many other investors, and knows the game
Enrich/Engage GATES HOSPITALITY | Introduction | 11
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12 | Bistro Des Arts | GATES HOSPITALITY
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Bistro Des Arts
Dubai Marinaâ€™s bistro de quartier, with a joie de vivre. The waterside terrace with a red awning, quintessentially Parisian, with a rustic authenticity and a menu of French classics GATES HOSPITALITY | Bistro Des Arts | 13
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Bistro Des Arts Dubai Marina’s neighbourhood bistro
he brainchild of founders and patrons Jonathan Vercoutere and Julien Pilard, Bistro Des Arts is the result of two friends on a search for authenticity. Julien and Jonathan, who met while working at Atlantis, The Palm, saw Dubai’s burgeoning food scene needed a little je ne sais quoi – an intimate spot with a cosy atmosphere, based on classic French dishes and genuine service, with authenticity at the heart. The idea was reminiscent of their lives in France, built around socialising over seasonal and regional foods; long lunches, leisurely breakfasts and cherished dinners.
The traditional French bistro is a small restaurant built on modesty and simplicity – things which aren’t necessarily synonymous with Dubai’s penchant for gold leaf coffee. Still Julien and Jonathan had an ambition to tone down the extravagance seen locally and create a restaurant that would combine excellent food with a genuine experience. Credited to Julien’s entrepreneurial spirit, the idea for Bistro Des Arts evolved from there and soon the duo were looking for partners to help bring it to life. Once they had found the people ready to support their vision, they had to identify the perfect space in which to realise it.
14 | Bistro Des Arts | GATES HOSPITALITY
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“Julien at home is very organised and very straightforward but at work he is much more creative, and I’ m the upside down of that. In my life I am more of the creative and messy person and I think we complement very well at work and out of work as well. It’ s the mirror effect” - Jonathan Vercoutere
There are certain elements the French bistro’s golden age interiors must incorporate: chalk board menus, wrought iron chairs, vintage posters and, of course, charm. The French bistro cannot be re-created in a vast space, like those many of Dubai’s restaurants occupy; it requires a cavern, a den-like grotto where people sit close, observe the kitchen, and keep a watchful eye on the bar. After hunting for the perfect venue, Naim stumbled upon the recently vacated hotel security office at The Address Dubai Marina that had a ceiling so low Julien could touch it without even having to reach.
Julien Pilard GATES HOSPITALITY | Bistro Des Arts | 15
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Escalope De Veau Vallée D’auge
A dish popular in the South of France, fresh tuna is grilled on open charcoal and served with a home-made ratatouille using fresh tomatoes, capsicum, a little oil, salt and pepper, served with a wedge of lemon and olive tapenade.
Ooh la la LE CHEF RECOMMAndE
Chef Stephane Cedelle began his apprenticeship at the age of 14 and has trained under the industry’s biggest names, before working for the likes of Marcus Wareing and Gordon Ramsay. He cooked for the French Army General and his family for one year during his National Service and spent 23 years in London at private members clubs, exclusive restaurants and gastropubs, before moving to Dubai.
A speciality from Normandy, the veal escalope is flame fried in a little oil and served with a cream and calvados sauce, garnished with fruit pieces.
Thon Mi-Cuit En Croûte De Tapenade
The crepe is served “snickers style” with salted butter caramel sauce, peanuts and whipped cream.
16 | Bistro Des Arts | GATES HOSPITALITY
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Never do anything without passion. It’s the source of all success, it’s the beginning path of any collaboration. Unfortunately life is stressful enough and if you cannot take time to enjoy yourself what is the point? - JuLIen PILarD, Patron anD co-founDer
The intimacy and location of the space only strengthened the vision. With access to the bustling Marina Walk, room for an extensive terrace and the potential to add the classic red awning, it wasn’t long before the lease was signed and the construction work began. In a city overrun with restaurants that can easily lack atmosphere, the focus now was to fill this secret space with memories from Paris. The rustic interiors at Bistro were created personally by Julien and Jonathan, who scoured shops in France, the UAE, and even a few places in between, as well as niche websites and pre-loved retailers, for the perfect blend of fixtures, fittings and equipment. Some elements were created bespoke – such as the napkins with the French men motifs and Bistro Des Arts branded in Métro Alphabet inspired typography
– others were brought over by Julien and Jonathan’s visiting family to create a musée Francophile. Outside, the obscured terrace was filled with plants and patio-style tables, all concealed with tall hedges. As with any bistro, the interior is not designed to stand still and, as time goes on old pictures will be replaced with new ones and souvenirs will continue to be added to the all-French hide-away. The menu adapts in a similar way, with Julien and Jonathan realising a vision for classic dishes from the French regions for their plats du jour then infusing an irrefutable simplicity in the other choices. The menu was 80% complete when chef Stephane Cedelle joined the team and added
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staples and personal favourites, like chicken tarragon, then developed cooking and garnishing techniques to add his auteur’s touch. Chef Stephane had spent the last 23 years in London following a colourful start to his career during which he trained under a French Masterchef and spent his year of French National Service as private chef to the French Army General and his family. In the British capital he pursued his dream to work in a Michelin-starred restaurant, working under Marcus Wareing and Gordon Ramsay and cooking for celebrities who would frequent the city in restaurants, private members clubs and gastropubs. The year before Bistro opened, chef Stephane was in Dubai for a pop up at Downtown’s Souk Al Bahar, when a friend of Julien and Jonathan
told him about the French bistro overlooking the waters of Dubai Marina, in need of a head chef. On October 10 2015, with the team in place and the restaurant complete, it was time to open the doors on Dubai’s rustic neighbourhood brasserie. Initially a hit with the emirate’s French community, Bistro Des Arts now draws crowds of every nationality for leisurely meals and quick coffees. The menu has been adapted slightly from the opening night to make the traditional French experience a little easier for the nonFrench national to understand, while retaining the staple notion that it is French food for French people. Plats du jour include Bœuf Bourguignon, Tartiflette, Rabbit Ragout and Gratinated Fish Quenelle and best sellers include the chef Stephane speciality, “Crêpe Snickers” with salted butter caramel and whipped cream. Dishes accessible to the layman, but French enough to make a mother proud, and dependent on the adventurous nature of the bistro’s diners. As a concept, modern French dining is still a relatively new idea in Dubai but with the success of Bistro there is little doubt the cuisine will become as popular as those of other nations. As for the future of Bistro, while the idea of creating a second restaurant goes against all bistronomie etiquette, the future for Julien and Jonathan will see more concepts created around the same themes of warm hospitality, hearty food and authentic atmosphere.
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20 | The Black Lion | GATES HOSPITALITY
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The Black Lion
The spirit of Londonâ€™s East End, at Sheikh Zayed Road, with a food first approach to cultural education, infusing flavours from around the world in a street food style GATES HOSPITALITY | The Black Lion | 21
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The Black Lion An old style rub-a-dub
ot many East End London-inspired gastropubs start out life as a Belgian bar, but The Black Lion at The H Hotel, 1 Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, did exactly that.
With Ryan heading up brand development along with two directors and Scot, the team created everything from uniforms, décor and music, to food and an extensive, and original cocktail menu.
Taken over by Gates Hospitality in summer 2015, the space was transformed from a tile and chrome mussel and beer hang-out to a full service, trend-setting gastropub in record breaking time to become Dubai’s original East End London-inspired hang out.
The concept document was created within two weeks; the refurbishment work was completed in around five days; the team was retrained; and the doors opened for business in mid-July 2015.
Headed up by Ryan Waddell and Scot Turner, who met while working at Reform Social & Grill, the venue was transformed in a matter of weeks. Ryan and Scot received a phone call from Naim one Thursday evening in late April and the team moved in to begin creating a new concept the following Monday.
Many original features – such as the long bar, which was sanded to add character – were retained, with facings added and furniture re-upholstered. Iron railings were removed and veneer hatches were added to create a lighter atmosphere, along with the signature pillar box reds.
22 | The Black Lion | GATES HOSPITALITY
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The space was transformed from a tile and chrome mussel and beer hangout to a full service, trend-setting gastropub
” 27/07/2016 23:18
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“We received a phone call on the Thursday saying we would be taking over the space from the following Monday so Ryan and I went as guests to see what we were about to walk into. We ordered some food, we ordered some drinks. It didn’ t compete with Dubai’ s other Belgian concepts, but one thing that did grab our attention was Wojciech Walecki’ s passion and drive. We knew that changing the F&B would be easy, changing the design would be easy, but the team would be difficult. Seeing his potential in that space… if you put him in a brand new restaurant, how excellent would he be!”
– Scot turner, uae oPeratIonS DIrector, tGP conSuLtInG
While taking inspiration from areas like London’s Shoreditch and Brick Lane the food had to adopt an identity apart from the International themes seen elsewhere in The H Hotel, which is when the Cockney street food element was born. Drawing on his recent experience in the UK’s gastropubs, Ryan set out to capture the flavours and influences of East London: Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian, American barbeque, mis-matched and combined to result in dishes such as haggis bhaji with blueberry sauce. Other prized creations include the short rib Korean bun, baja fish taco and chicken tikka tenders. More traditional menu staples such as burgers and hot dogs also feature, but with gunpowder shallots to create a smoky flavour, and wasabi slaw on the side.
All dishes are created from scratch, right down to the syrup which features in the Hops Sour, while keeping the overall concept uncomplicated.
The Black Lion was the local trailblazer of the Freakshake, a milkshake mash-up that has been blowing up Instagram as much as it has the waistlines of its fans.
Open from 11am to 3am, the menu runs from deli-style lunches of create-your-own sandwiches and stuffed potatoes, to dinner and the lock in menu of pub pizzas, melts and UK style kebabs, served up until last orders in the small hours.
The Black Lion was the first in Dubai to launch a Freakshake menu consisting of six “drinks”: Strawberry & Jam Doughnut; Pistachio & White Chocolate; Raspberry Eton Mess; Maple & Pecan with Slice of Tart; Caramel & Banoffee and Chocolate Milkshake with Cookies.
The idea is to create accessible food, with only a few select dishes priced at more than AED100, but while retaining standards by sourcing quality produce – for example, halal meat from Australia.
And they aren’t the only sweets to take the menu by storm with the baked vanilla cheesecake, served with salted caramel crumble, a bestseller.
It isn’t just the savoury food that has captured Dubai’s attention. In true trendsetter style
While some clientele visit solely for the Freakshakes and cake, others come for a different kind of drink. With the bar a focal point, expectations are high. Drawing inspiration from the
24 | The Black Lion | GATES HOSPITALITY
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Take a butcher’s hook at this... Baked vanilla cheesecake, salted caramel crumble
G A v I n M A R t I n C U B I t t, SOUS CHEF Mixed and poured over a home-made biscuit base the cakes are baked in the oven Crafted fresh every day, the cheesecake is made from high quality cheese, eggs and sugar
The signature touch for this cheesecake is Gavin’s salted cara mel crumble
Biscuit pieces are baked fresh and mixed with the cara mel to garnish the finished dish
SCOt tURnER, U A E O P E R AT I O N S D I R E C TO R , T G P I N T E R N AT I O N A L
GAREtH dUGAn, BAR SUPERvISOR
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For when you ’ re Hank Marvin… The Hoxton ‘angus’ burger, with red onion and tomato relish, mature cheddar, veal bacon, jalapeno
Southern fried chicken wrap
Rump steak and chips, chimichurri
The Black Lion brought the Freakshake to Dubai
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I’ve brought a taste for spice. There is a lot of kick in the menu and it took a lot to balance those flavours. It was supposed to be a fun menu and I am from a rural background where things are locally sourced for gastropubs, but this is different. This menu is my favourite dishes from different restaurants which are a standard in most cultures - rYan WaDDeLL, heaD chef
American speakeasies, every item on the drinks menu tells a story. Like everything at Black Lion, the menu started from scratch with Scot taking the lead on striking the balance between classic and new. In the Hops Sour, craft hops is reduced to create a syrup, fusing flavours that combine citrus, bourbon and notes of hops. The Jefferson Cup is an easy drinking cocktail with an interesting story. Named after US President Thomas Jefferson – who, as legend has it, bankrupt himself buying fine wines – the wine-based cocktail combines American grapes with fruits native to Jefferson’s home state of Virginia infused throughout. Topped with prosecco, it is served in a balloon glass. Then there is the Aunt Sally, which re-creates the
taste of Key Lime Pie so well, it is named after the woman who is credited with making the first pie, Aunt Sally, the maid of a ship merchant and Key West’s first millionaire, William Curry. Drink design takes around six weeks with numerous people drafted in to taste and perfect each potion, not only in terms of taste, but originality, ability to stay true to the East End and even glassware. And the presentation isn’t just for the guest who will enjoy the drink. With a heavy focus on social media across the GCC, Ryan and Scot are acutely aware of the impact of sharing and keep this in mind when creating new dishes and drinks. Everything has to be close-up ready. Fusing the tastes and cultures of East London in the Middle East’s ethnic melting pot has
On the menu
The Black Lion Brunch:
Friday, 6pm – 10pm A la carte dishes from across the menu, with a sharing concept and platters to start, followed by the Fork and Knife menu and signature sweets. Old school funk and hip hop, played by the DJ, turning into an after party from 10pm.
Brick Lane Beats:
The alternative to Dubai Tuesdays, with British curries and live acoustic music.
Served Saturday and Sunday, during a big match – if there is one.
Fish and Chip Shop Lunch: Frying Thursday only.
created a restaurant and bar that stands apart from the crowd, not just on Sheikh Zayed Road but across the wider city. The final, and most important part of the puzzle is the ability of the team at The Black Lion to bring the concept to life, through intuitive and interactive service, with both Ryan and Scot confident it is this which brings guests to the bar for a drink. Or, as the old Cockney rhyming slang goes, “to the near and far for a tumble down the sink”.
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28 | Folly | GATES HOSPITALITY
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The Folly outdoor terrace and lounge, adjacent to the main restaurant houses its own bar and is adorned with foliage and hanging plants. Guests can sample Folly’s menu under the stars, or simply relax in the lounge area, enjoying the magical ‘Arabian Nights’ atmosphere of Madinat Jumeirah. GATES HOSPITALITY | Folly | 29
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t seems unusual to have a close team of front-of-house and back-of-house staff who go together from one concept to another, however Nick Alvis, Scott Price and Viktorija Paplauskiene, who all came from London’s Gordon Ramsay circle, claim that their relationship is “vital”, because a good team is bound by trust, a mutual understanding and respect, which are things the three have cultivated over the course of several years working together. Nick and Scott first crossed paths as part of the Gordon Ramsay team at Claridges in London and on their days off they used to go for a drink together and discuss their ultimate dream of one day opening a restaurant together.
the restaurant quickly became one of Dubai’s foremost dining destinations. When Gordon Ramsay pulled out of the restaurant in 2011, the pair embarked on a new journey to solidify the Nick & Scott brand by creating — with the crucial help of Viktorija — something that was pioneering at the time in Dubai: a homegrown concept focused on excellent food in a refreshingly relaxed environment. Nick, Scott and Viktorija left the restaurant in 2013 and launched casual dining concept, Taste Kitchen restaurants. And having overseen all areas of design and development of the concept, the three admit there’s not much they don’t know about opening a restaurant today.
The Middle Eastern leg of Nick and Scott’s journey began in 2010 when Gordon Ramsay asked Scott to go to Dubai to open and run Verre by Gordon Ramsay at Hilton Dubai Creek. Nick followed soon after, and in their talented hands,
A perfect partnership was ignited when Gates Hospitality approached Nick, Scott and Viktorija about the sought-after space that used to occupy Rivington Grill at Madinat Jumeirah. Following the success of Bistro Des
Folly Located in Madinat Jumeirah, Folly will sparkle with the signature great food and relaxed charm of well-known local heroes, Nick Alvis and Scott Price, complemented by restaurant manager,Viktorija Paplauskiene’s exceptional attention to detail
Our standards are very high, so we want to show that through the food and service but without making people feeling uncomfortable. Pretentious is not a word we want to be associated with - nIcK aLVIS
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noun 1. lack of good sense; foolishness. “an act of sheer folly” 2. a costly ornamental building with no practical purpose, especially a tower or mock-Gothic ruin built in a large garden or park.
Arts, with Jonathan and Julien acting as the faces of the concept, Naim focused in on this business model, whereby the chef or brand partner would represent the concept on-site. He wanted Nick and Scott at the helm of a restaurant that would serve high-end food, while leaving behind the pretence associated with fine dining. And so the visions of Gates and Nick and Scott aligned to create a dining venue where guests feel totally at ease, while being able to enjoy excellent food and beverages. Quirky outdoor space, with several levels, nooks and crannies, adds to the mischievous fun conveyed in the venue’s name, and the team are excited about making full use of the al-fresco opportunities presented. The Folly outdoor terrace and lounge, adjacent to
the main restaurant houses its own bar and is adorned with foliage and hanging plants. Guests can sample Folly’s menu under the stars, or simply relax in the lounge area, enjoying the magical ‘Arabian Nights’ atmosphere of Madinat Jumeirah. Upstairs, the Folly rooftop is set apart from the main restaurant floor and offers views over the expansive bay of the Arabian Gulf and the iconic Burj Al Arab, serving craft cocktails and snacks. The space is ideally suited to events and private parties, with one extra-special feature being the Folly private dining table, which can seat up to 12 guests and is set on its own terrace, offering a tailor-made menu designed by the chef. And even more exclusive is the two-seater private table, perfect for a romantic evening.
We’ve waited three years to find the right location and the right partner to work with, so we haven’t rushed into this; we’ve been talking about it for 10 years since we worked together in London
- Scott PrIce
The indoor dining area houses around 50 seats, including the eight-seater bar counter, which doubles as the kitchen passe, offering diners an exhilarating insight into the behind-the-scenes hustle and bustle as they observe food being cooked before their eyes. The menu moves away from the traditional three-course idea, encouraging diners to be adventurous with their food. Conveniently sized plates allow for exploration and experimentation, meaning guests can experience a number of flavours and ingredients. The cuisine represents a culmination of years of experience, reflecting Nick and Scott’s classical training, research, travels and time spent getting to know the UAE market, with a focus on fresh, high quality ingredients, skillful cooking and innovative dishes designed to get guests talking.
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A window into nature vIktORIJA
It’s not all about the chefs: for a restaurant to be a success, you need strong supporting characters. With her vivacious personality, passion for the job and commitment to maintaining high standards, restaurant manager viktorija Paplauskiene is an integral part of the team.
In 2004, an invitation to spend a day in the kitchen at Gordon Ramsay, Claridges proved pivotal and Nick remained there for three years. Being part of the Gordon Ramsay team, he met Scott and the two have been friends and colleagues ever since.
Scott knew from an early age that his life was meant to be spent in the kitchen. He started out as an 11-year-old washing dishes in his town’s local hotel and went on to attend catering college at the age of 16.
Meanwhile, the beverage menu is centred on craft ales, ciders, and biodynamic and organic wines, to complement the food and keep guests engaged and excited. The wines, carefully selected by Viktorija, showcase diversity and depth, with varying regions, styles, flavours, and vintages on offer. The team is also very passionate about cocktails, and mysterious ancient blends of botanicals using flowers, spices, citrus peels, herbs and tree barks will feature. Folly is set to re-introduce the art of a traditional party drink, offering punch with carefully crafted speciality blends. A drinks list with beverages that were once appreciated on their own before or after dinner, such as Chartreuse, Maraschino, Benedictine, and Absinthe will be available, with the list of cocktails, liquors, digestives and wine linked and listed according to botanicals. Being very well-known on the Dubai restaurant scene, it would be easy for Nick and Scott to become complacent, simply sticking their names against a concept and training up junior chefs to take the reins, however, this is not what they or Gates Hospitality has planned for Folly. Nick asserts that “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself” and the chefs and Viktorija will do just that, living and breathing Folly in order to make it as special as it can be, with the hope that the food and service will be even more memorable than the location. Standing apart, doing things differently and better than others is the aim of the game with every Gates concept, and the team is putting a lot of effort into bringing something new to town. There is more to come for the dynamic trio, who are working in partnership exclusively with Gates Hospitality on a number of projects. And as these local heroes continue to blaze a trail across the emirate, it is certain that Folly will become another important linchpin of Dubai’s foodie scene.
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34 | Publique | GATES HOSPITALITY
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In the mountainous regions of France, friends gather in chalets to share food, wine and stories. The dishes are traditional and unequivocally French, but not overcomplicated. Instead their sophistication comes through quality. Publique is the home from home for these social butterflies who cherish good food, good company and good vibes.
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Publique W A bar apart
hen it comes to nightlife venues, creating atmosphere is far from easy. While the default option is to turn up the volume and fill every last corner of the restaurant or bar, this isn’t the only way. Publique is located downstairs from Folly in Madinat Jumeirah, and is the second concept from Bistro Des Arts co-founders Jonathan Vercoutere and Julien Pilard. Continuing the rustic French authenticity the Dubai Marina Bistro is known for in a lounge and dinner concept, Publique is specifically tailored to the 30- to 40-year-old age group with a focus on sharing, socialising and celebration. In a city that comes to life when the sun sets, Publique puts the sophistication of a fireside gathering at the chalet with friends, against a backdrop of fine food from the mountainous regions of France, in a venue that captures a rustic, industrial, rough-casual chic. At 160 capacity the space is intimate and refined with references to the prohibition era weaved through here and there. Divided into multiple areas, the bar evokes a lively après-ski hang-
out; high tables, shared spaces. The dining area is cosier, with lower tables for two, three or four. The lighting installations bring the nightlife feel to the close quarters. Outside, the terrace – although climatically a world away from any mountainside – will capture a more traditional style with a canopy reminiscent of Bistro Des Arts. These elements are captured in the tagline “Bar Apart”, which is about bringing something new and different. The apartment element is reflected in the dining area, the art element in the lighting installations and the hinged bar stools. The bar is self-explanatory. According to Julien and Jonathan, Publique’s clientele is one that enjoys high quality food and drink in a post-dinner environment, without the price tag or impersonal approach of a nightclub. The idea is that here you can share a table with friends for drinks and fine food and not spend six months paying off the bill. Publique will allow
Some people are off work at the start of the week. These people want to go to a place that has a buzz outside of the weekend, but there is nowhere to go. These are big elements - Jonathan Vercoutere
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its patrons to sample multiple dishes and drinks without having to compromise. It’s also somewhere to escape the usual trappings of the emirate, with alternatives to the likes of the Tuesday ladies’ night or the Friday brunch.
J O n At H A n vERCOUtERE
The main event at Publique is the drinks, with a seven foot wine rack and a five-part cocktail menu divided into the Artistic, the Fun-atic, the Classic, Authentic and Rustic.
Fondu Savoyarde, a mix of cheese and white wine will be served with bread to soak in and Fondu Bourguignonne, the popular raw beef cube fried into a hot oil.
In a city that is well known for its attention grabbing beverage menus, featuring everything from gold leaf and hibiscus to zaatar and juniper, this menu takes a trip through the ages.
But food isn’t mandatory; when the French gather with friends, cooking is important but minimal to encourage greater focus on the event and each other.
The Classics takes one stand-out mix from each decade of the 20th century; the Artistic allows creative flare in the shaking and stirring; the Fun-atic focusses on the short party
Something that is unique to Dubai, food will incorporate cheese and meat, and novelties such as Pierrade hot stones to allow guests to prepare their own meat and seafood at the table, alongside staple bar foods, such as pizza and sharing platters. In the French mountains food is about nourishing the soul and the French are firm believers in the role cheese can
play in this. Raclette, a semi-hard cheese fixed on a machine to be heated and then poured over boiled potatoes will be one of the many specials, served with cold cuts.
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This is something unique in Dubai and we will be coming with the same idea as Bistro in that respect. We believe that we compete with nobody in terms of the food element; bringing in the mountains with the cheese, meat, raclette, charcoal cooking at the table - JuLIen PILarD
drinks consumed in unison or the oversized sharing glasses; the Authentics channels flavours of the world; and the Rustic utilises new and unseen glassware to create prohibition-style, disguised tipples. The focus is on making things interesting enough that even the non-cocktail drinker is drawn in. Retaining the chalet style amid this low-key glitz is key to the concept and one thing Julien
and Jonathan work hard to preserve is the arrival experience. Publique isn’t an exclusive club, but an inviting space. As with Bistro Des Arts, Julien and Jonathan will fill the new prohibition-chalet with trinkets and treasures from France to create the rustic authenticity the concept depends on, but with the potential to expand into multiple locations and even, possibly, overseas.
Australia’s Woodstock Wines has partnered with G ates Hospitality to supply its aromatic w hites, finely structured reds and an eclectic selectio n of after-d inner wines across the restaurant portfolio
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40 | Reform Social & Grill | GATES HOSPITALITY
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Inspired by The Reform Club in London where Phileas Fogg accepts a bet from fellow members in the book “Around the World in 80 days”, Reform Social & Grill offers a classic British menu, with items such as roasted pork belly; chicken, mushroom and leek pie; and fish & chips, with pea, mint and tartar sauce
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Reform Social & Grill Dubai’s very first gastropub, Reform Social & Grill specialises in British comfort food and serving up an exceptionally family-friendly experience
ituated on a picturesque lakeside at the heart of Dubai’s The Lakes community, Reform Social & Grill started out as the new “local” for residents in the area, offering the perfect spot for a post-workout coffee or light bite, but word spread quickly, and now residents and tourists from across the emirate travel to Reform in droves for hearty roast dinners, classic afternoon tea and “The Great British Curry”. From the colonial period-inspired interiors, which take a cue from The Reform Club in London where Phileas Fogg accepts a bet from fellow members in the book “Around the World in 80 Days”, to the classic British menu, with items such as roasted pork belly; chicken, mushroom and leek pie; and fish & chips, with pea, mint
and tartar sauce, Reform Social & Grill is a little slice of Britain in the Middle East. The restaurant attracts a strong base of regulars, with the team estimating that around 70% of customers are repeat guests. And since opening three years ago, Reform Social & Grill’s popularity has risen exponentially. British Chef Ryan Waddell is at the helm of the food and beverage operation, and brings a wealth of experience from his time working at some award-winning British restaurants, including classic gastropub, The Canbury Arms in London. Ryan was brought over to Dubai to open Reform Social & Grill and has been dedicated to the growth and development of the venue since its busy launch on 8 October 2013.
What I’m seeing here is like being in London but in Dubai. We’re an outdoor venue with a big capacity
- LorenZo De MartIn, GeneraL ManaGer
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Fish & Chips Pea, Mint, Tartar Sauce Fish 180g
Tartar Sauce 4 ltr 500 g 500 g 500 g 30 g
R yA n W A d d E L L , H E A d C H E F
Surprisingly, Ryan started his working life as a trainee accountant, but soon decided to follow his passion for cooking. Before moving to Dubai in 2013, Ryan had worked at some very authentic gastropubs in the UK, including award-winning The Canbury Arms in London.
Mayonnaise Capers Gherkins, finely chopped Shallots, peeled and finely chopped Parsley, finely chopped Salt and freshly ground black pepper
① Mix All Together
Batter 28g 10g 900g 600g 1lt 1lt ½ tsp ½ tsp 1 tsp
Fresh Yeast Egg Yolk Flour Corn flour Milk Soda water Cayenne Baking powder Soya sauce salt
① Mix all ingredients together, and rest in fridge for 12 hours
Pea & Mint Puree 1 1 2 100g 1kg 300ml 300ml 300ml 20g
Onion Stick of celery Garlic cloves Butter Frozen peas vegetable stock Cream Milk Mint
① Finely chop onion, celery and garlic, and sweat down in the butter. ② Add the peas and coat in butter. ③ Add vegetable stock, milk and cream. Cover and bring to the boil quickly, as soon as it boils, remove from the heat. ④ Strain off the liquid but don’t discard. Transfer peas to the thermo mix, add the mint leaves and blend at full power. Add back a small amount of the cooking liquid until you have a nice thick puree. ⑤ Season and chill.
① Dust fillet of fish in plain seasoned flour, dip in the batter. Allow some of the excess batter to run off the fish and place in the fryer. Cook for about 3-4 minutes turning the fish occasionally. ② Reheat pea puree. ③ Serve on a large slate board, large quenelle of pea puree, ramekin of tartar sauce, half a lemon and a cup of chips.
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And while the menu concept is similar to the offer at the original Reform Social & Grill, located in the Marylebone area of London at The Mandeville Hotel, chef Ryan has added some light, bright twists to suit the Dubai climate. Summer soups and salads feature alongside the best-of-British classics, and being a farmer’s son born and bred, Ryan has been instrumental in ensuring these dishes contain plenty of locally-sourced ingredients. It’s no secret that a number of gastropubs have opened their doors in Dubai since Reform Social & Grill first set the standard, however what makes the venue stand apart is firstly its huge capacity, with 250 covers, and its firm roots in British tradition, which chef Ryan pays homage to using classic, simple cooking techniques and fresh, clean, crisp ingredients. Even all of the pickles, chutneys and dressings are made inhouse and the chefs cure their own salmon and slow-braise their meat. The beverage selection is also very classically British, and Reform prides itself in serving up Dubai’s best gin and tonic and an extensive array of cocktails. The bar has also become a popular pre- and post-dinner drinks venue, where colleagues and friends can wind down after a hard day in the office at the bar or on the terrace. Warm and buzzing, the atmosphere is enhanced with a playlist of retro British music, with a soothing soundtrack of light jazz, folk, pop and soul such as Beatles, Damien Rice and The Verve in the morning, and Motown, northern soul and Brit pop such as Etta James, David Bowie and Rolling Stones providing a positive, upbeat vibe throughout the afternoon. The energy and tempo is stepped up a notch in the evening with hits from the 50s and current pop greats. Open all day long, Reform begins welcoming guests from 8am and takes last orders at 11.30pm, and outside tables don’t have to be
1268 870 roasts
fish & chips
full english Breakfast
Pie & chips
Increase in business 2014-2015
booked – even large parties of guests can show up unannounced and stay for as long as they like. Lorenzo de Martin, the pub’s Italian general manager, who has also spent a long time living and working in London, claims that some guests even stay for five or six hours at a time, particularly if their children are having lots of fun in the playground or on the spacious, gated lawn. The venue goes above and beyond to make families feel welcome, hosting children’s parties and fun days with bouncy castles, face painting and ice cream to ensure the little ones love Reform Social & Grill just as much as their parents do. For more adult-friendly events, the deck area offers privacy away from the main restaurant
10,000+ pints of beer March 2016
The whole thing is about comfort, it’s a home away from home and that’s the idea. It’s only on for two days a week on a Saturday and Sunday, but we’re selling in excess of 250 portions of roast dinner a week - rYan WaDDeLL, heaD chef
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On the menu
Monday: Steak and Wine Night Tuesday: Movie Night – dine under the
stars in The Orchard while watching a film on the big screen
Wednesday: Curry Night – Reform’s
“Great British Curry” served from 5pm – 11.30pm
Friday: The Great British Brunch - served 12pm – 4pm and 6pm – 10pm
Your basic dishes are all very clasically done. So your fish and chips, burgers, and pies are what they are. They’re not fancied up, retro or twisted
- rYan WaDDeLL, heaD chef
and makes a perfect, scenic lakeside spot for an evening soiree or birthday celebration. Diners can also book enclosed private garden area, The Orchard for parties or corporate events, or opt for the private dining room inside, which has space for up to 14 guests seated or 20 for canapés and bubbly. The room is perfect for intimate wedding breakfasts or a business dinner where both quality and privacy are paramount.
in terms of numbers, so keeping the children happy and healthy is a top priority for the chefs and front-of-house team. The children’s menu benefits from the same ingredients and cooking techniques as the adult’s menu, so the fish used to make the fish & chips is also that used for the fish fingers. Additionally, everything on the children’s menu is GMO-free, without additives where possible.
Everything on the menu is produced fresh inhouse, including the children’s dishes, which have been recently overhauled to offer a wider selection, and some healthier options. For example, the chicken nuggets have been replaced with chicken wraps, skewers and breasts, with green beans and new potatoes some of the accompaniments on offer.
Currently chef Ryan is working on lightening up the menu, and changing the options in the deli selection, which is centred on lunch items such as hearty soups and sandwiches made from sourdough or rye bread, quinoa and salads.
Reform caters to around 5,000 children per month, which is roughly 5% of the business
The breakfast and lunch menus are also being updated, with chef Ryan continuing to focus on procuring the freshest, highest quality ingredients, following the seasons of the UK.
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48 | Ultra Brasserie | GATES HOSPITALITY
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Combining laid back hospitality with the health-focused urbanchic cafĂŠ culture of Melbourne, Ultra Brasserie offers a refreshing haven to unwind, with a passionate team on call to take care of every need GATES HOSPITALITY | Ultra Brasserie | 49
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Ultra Brasserie A relaxed urban-chic sanctuary of health and wellness in one of Dubai’s bustling business districts
Guests come here to de-stress. The brasserie is so bright, colourful and uplifting and the team are very proactive in making the guests feel at home, even simply by learning their names
– WILSon VarGheSe, oPeratIonS ManaGer
ealthy, buzzing, organic, fresh and colourful are the words that spring to mind on entering Ultra Brasserie at Emaar Square, which seats 139 across its spacious indoor area and bright, enclosed terrace. The team of 16 front-of-house and 10 kitchen staff is headed up by operations manager Wilson Varghese, assistant manager, Ouissal Sta Khelifa, and head chef Andrew Matthews. Since day one on 2 May 2013, the team has worked hard to create an uplifting, homely space that provides the perfect antidote to a stressful office environment. Located in a bustling business district, the vibrant eatery provides a little haven for tired workers, with healthy, wholesome food and beverages, such as organic, gluten-free salads, wraps, quinoa, digestion-aiding juices and the newly introduced sushi bar, which offers nine varieties. With a strong following of regular guests, the team is kept busy during the key business hours of 8am-2pm, and is exceptionally accommodating for guests popping in for meetings throughout the day, sometimes keeping the venue open well beyond the 7pm curfew to allow customers to finish up business, or even stay for dinner. And while the Emaar Square venue closes on Saturdays, the catering service is still on offer, and the Marina Plaza outlet
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Sweet potato rosti with soft poached eggs & chia seeds Ingredients
2 free-range eggs 40g chickpeas 25g baby rocket 20g feta 2 tbs chia seeds 20ml extra virgin olive oil for salad 2 sweet potato rostis, made with sweet potato, buckwheat flour, red onion, and egg
① Crack the eggs into simmering water with a touch of white vinegar. Once the white is firm and yolks soft remove and drain water. ② Grill sweet potato rostis with a touch of olive oil for a minute or so until coloured and place on a plate. ③ In a bowl place baby rocket, chickpeas, chia seeds, feta and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Toss the salad together and serve. Place the poached eggs on the rostis and sprinkle the plate with remaining chia.
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of ultra Brasserie’s revenue is generated between 8am-2pm and 12pm-2pm
Noun informal 1. An Ultra Brasserie addict. a person with a compulsive habit or obsessive dependency on Ultra Brasserie
900 ultra Brasserie’s cajun chicken sandwich and wrap have become staples of emaar square. the venue averages 900 wraps per month, using 200-300kg of chicken breast every week
20kg of fresh salmon is sold weekly between 12-2pm
remains open for those looking for their Ultra Brasserie fix. When Ultra Brasserie first opened its doors, the team worked closely with Gates Hospitality to refine the concept through group tastings and brain storming, and day-by-day, month-bymonth, Ultra Brasserie blossomed perfectly to reflect the team’s combined vision. Catering to a range of specific dietary requirements, from vegan to gluten-free and Paleo, every dish con-
tains at least one superfood, with greens such as avocado, spinach, asparagus and broccoli strong players on the menu, along with legumes and chickpeas, flaxseeds and chia seeds. Procuring quality produce is a big priority for chef Andrew, who is forever chasing the seasons around the globe to make sure everything on the menu is as fresh and ripe as possible. While he likes to procure tomatoes and potatoes locally, fish is mainly sourced from Scotland, Tasmania and Australia, and beef is of the highest quality Australian and New Zealand varieties. Meanwhile, Andrew also works with small suppliers to procure unusual products such as dragon fruit or Latin American specialities. The breakfast menu was recently updated to take inspiration from the Melbourne café scene, with one of the best-sellers the soft poached eggs with sweet potato rosti, rocket, chickpeas, chia seeds and feta. The breakfast is gluten-free, with the rostis comprised of buckwheat flour, sweet potato and seeds, making
a clean, light, yet filling dish. One of the chef’s favourite menu items, however, is the organic quinoa salad with mango, baby spinach, Cajun-spiced free-range chicken, cherry tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and a hint of lime. Before updating the menu, Andrew conducts tastings with his chefs and front-of-house team, and guest requests and preferences are also taken into consideration, meaning that some items have real staying power, such as the popular superfood salad and the burger, which is made using high quality wagyu beef. And although Andrew’s main inspiration is Australian health-focused cuisine, the chef’s years of experience working in an Italian restaurant in his home town of Philip Island, just south of Melbourne, has inspired him to weave some colourful, light and clean Mediterranean dishes into the menu, such as a home-made pappardelle with local prawns, cherry tomatoes, wild rocket and Napolitana salsa, and a wild mushroom risotto with fresh thyme and fontina cheese.
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Grilled tasmanian atlantic salmon Ingredients
200g Salmon fillet Baby spinach Avocado, chopped Asparagus, blanched and sliced Extra virgin olive oil 1 lemon - cut out one wedge for garnish
We focus on superfoods; we’re very big on that and on our offers for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diets. People embrace healthy food, especially in Emaar Square. They come in every day and say, ‘I’m vegan... what have you got for me?’ In Emaar Square we’re very busy from the moment we open the door at 7am until 7pm - anDreW MattheWS, heaD chef
① On a plate season the salmon with salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. ② Place on to the grill, skin-side-down until golden and crispy, turn and continue cooking until just underdone to the preferred liking. Put the salmon to the side and rest.The fillet will continue to cook a little more as it rests. ③ In a bowl add the spinach, avocado, asparagus, and extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. ④ Gently toss the salad. ⑤ Place the salmon skin-side-up on the centre of the plate and add the salad lightly next to the salmon.
A n d R E W M At t H E W S , H E A d C H E F
Procuring quality produce is a big priority for Australian chef Andrew Matthews, who is forever chasing the seasons around the globe to make sure everything on the menu is as fresh and ripe as possible.
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Ultra Brasserie uses locally-roasted coffee since perfectly crafted beverages are a key element of the concept.
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My job is to listen to customers, then I’ll share the information with the team and we’ll find the solution to make the guest happy. I think this has been my best experience ever, because I’ve met so many different people from around the world
– ouISSaL Sta KheLIfa, MarIna ManaGer
In addition to updates to the catering and à la carte menus every three months, the deli menu is changed daily, with a variety of sandwiches and salads rustled up depending on seasonality, and the items that are freshest on the market. The venue’s coffee creations are crafted to perfection by the baristas, using organic coffee. Coffee lovers are also offered a beverage on the house and a complimentary muffin on gaining nine loyalty card stamps. Following the success of the Emaar Square location, the second Ultra Brasserie opened in Marina Plaza in December 2014. In both venues, footfall has been consistently increasing, which is mostly down to word-of-mouth, and while there is very strong competition in the Emaar Square area, Ultra Brasserie is able to drive in
impressive volumes of happy and returning customers, and prides itself in maintaining excellent standards of service and food quality, as well as exceptional variety. The team take it upon themselves to ensure that everyone in the local area knows about Ultra Brasserie, regularly extending a warm welcome to customers by visiting the nearby buildings, inviting guests to come again, meeting new potential customers, and sharing the à la carte and catering menus, while reminding guests about Ultra Brasserie’s value added promotions. Marina manager, Ouissal Sta Khelifa’s main role since moving from France to open the venue, has been creating strong relationships with guests. A natural people person, Ouissal
describes working at Ultra Brasserie as the best experience of her life, because she has met such a variety of interesting people from across the world, who she really enjoys taking care of at the venue. Understanding that most of her guests spend all day in an office and often don’t have families in Dubai to go home to, Ouissal feels it is her duty to create a home away from home at Ultra Brasserie. And while offering this type of personalised service comes naturally to her, she is also tasked with passing her skills on to her team through regular training. Over the last three years, many of her young team members have flourished, becoming more confident and building relationships with guests. The team is quite clearly very proud of the product they have created, and Andrew, Wilson and Ouissal are adamant that nothing gets delivered to a guest unless it looks and tastes perfect. With a laid back ambience reminiscent of the health-focused, urban-chic cafés of Melbourne, Ultra Brasserie offers a refreshing, flexible environment with passionate hosts looking after every need.
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56 | Six Senses | GATES HOSPITALITY
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Six Senses Zighy Bay
A breathtaking resort between mountain and sea, connecting with the earth through hospitality and wellness GATES HOSPITALITY | Six Senses | 57
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Six Senses Zighy Bay The Rugged Beauty of Oman
odged between the crystal waters of the Gulf and Omanâ€™s breathtaking mountains, Six Senses Zighy Bay is an indigenous style villa resort with a focus on well-being, relaxation and Omani hospitality, blending an award winning location and services, with incredible natural beauty: authentic, personal, sustainable. The Six Senses touch is delivered around the world with nine Six Senses resorts plus two evason resorts and 18 stand-alone spas. Six Sensesâ€™ experts hold a wealth of experience from diverse background, from visiting spa practitioners and celebrity chefs, to star gazers, marine biologists and even Six Senses paragliding professionals. These fascinating folk complement dedicated hosts and help to establish the uniqueness of Six Senses.
Specialising in accommodation, spa and dining, the resort is a favourite with families and couples from across the Gulf, and further afield, and is one of an exclusive number of Six Senses properties globally. A preferred venue for getaways, occasions that call for an out of the ordinary touch, Six Senses Zighy Bay is an Omani Oasis that blends modernity and sophistication with the old and rustic. Accommodation is inspired by local surroundings, from the flora and fauna to hospitable customs, with each villa boasting a personal sand garden, outdoor patio and private pool. The resort comprises six villa types based on traditional Omani summerhouse architecture, and two speciality villas, The Retreat and Beit Musandam the Private Reserve.
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“ The resort is constructed from natural stone and wood, with high ceilings to keep indoor spaces cool from the sun, and tastefully decorated public and private spaces. Beds are topped with unbleached cotton sheets and ergonomic pillows, inviting slumber around the clock. In the speciality villas, which are located at either end of the beautiful Zighy Bay, overlooking the sea, comfort and privacy is unsurpassed. There is a personal spa suite, a wine cellar and state-of-the-art entertainment systems; huge outside space is within the privacy of high cobblestone walls, with plumped up sun loungers and shaded living and dining areas including a traditional Arabic summer house surrounding the large infinity-edge swimming pool. Retaining the authentic Omani essence, menus across the resort’s three dining venues
focus on traditional Arabic and Omani foods and warm hospitality. From Sense on The Edge, a fine dining hill-top restaurant overlooking the azure waters below, to Shua Shack, the “authentic Arab dining experience”, dining at Six Senses Zighy Bay is firmly rooted in organic, local and high quality produce where possible. Unique experiences on offer range from dinner in the Wine Cellar to in-villa private dining, not to mention the Spice Market main restaurant, Zighy Bar, and the Summer House for lunch and afternoon meals.
Time at the resort is just about relaxation with a firm focus on creating memories guests will treasure for a lifetime; some of them high in adrenaline
Dishes on the menus include Arabic salads and grills alongside more adventurous flavours such as duck carpaccio, oxtail ravioli and chili crab and coriander parcels. At Zighy Bar, tapas is served with a Middle Eastern twist, capturing the flavours of the region
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S tAt S AROUND SIX SENSES ZIGHY BAY
LuXurY PooL VILLaS
SWIMMInG PooLS IncLuDInG the Gcc’S onLY SaLt Water PooL
and retaining the focus on wellness through environment. At Six Senses Spa Zighy Bay, the body can recover from the stresses of daily life beyond the bay with one of a number of treatments in the stone-walled sanctuary. Combining some of the best holistic treatments with the healing benefits of the surrounding environment and the expert knowledge of the Six Senses spa team, Zighy Bay’s wellness programmes set guests on a path towards a healthier lifestyle. In the Six Senses Integrated Wellness package, guests have their key physiological biomarkers measured to provide lifestyle and nutritional advice and design a personalised programme of spa treatments, fitness and wellness activities based on the preventative principles of the Eastern medicine approach and the result-oriented Western influences. On a three or five day programme, the Sense of Oman package combines the power of indigenous plants, herbs and fruits in treatments that refresh, revitalise and nourish the body and soul, whilst the local environment provides a stunning backdrop for daily activities.
aBoVe Sea LeVeL IS Where GueStS WILL fInD SenSeS on the eDGe
Time at the resort isn’t just about relaxation with a firm focus on creating memories guests will treasure for a lifetime; some of them high in adrenaline. Experiences on offer to guests include sunset dhow cruises, rock climbing, hikes, mountain biking, paragliding, snorkeling, scuba and safari. There are also a number of family activities and the Chaica’s Club for children aged four to 10, including watersports, sand castles, treasure hunts, and learning about Arabian history and local culture. A Teen Club offers adventure hikes, wadi swimming, canyoning or just learning new skills like archery, raft building and abseiling, and Cinema Paradiso keeps all the family entertained with movies on the beach under a blanket of stars while unconventional ushers serve five flavours of popcorn, 40 flavours of ice cream and refreshing soft drinks. Among the many activities families can enjoy together, Zighy Bay also offers Arabic cooking classes with master chefs in the resort’s Organic Garden where guests pick their ingredients before learning and practicing details of the wholesome nature that is prevalent in Arabic cooking.
Committed not only to improve the wellness of guests, Six Senses Zighy Bay is also committed to increasing the wellness of the local community with activities such as giving support to the local Dibba Girl’s School, Sharjah Charity International and Sukarina bin Al Husain School. Six Senses Zighy Bay not only makes donations and provides services to these charities, the hosts of the resort are also very involved in these social activities and the resort has an active environmental programme, following the universal commitment of the Six Senses Group to the communities it operates in. As a group that is synonymous with the unique nuances of style – authentic, personal and sustainable, and in harmony with individual surroundings – Six Senses is also part of the local fabric; in tune with the wider world. As a resort operator, Six Senses adapts seamlessly to host cultures in an environment that evokes wellbeing, supported by outstanding anticipative service and attention to detail.
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Published by BNC Publishing.
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