TAB®, an upscale restaurant serving modern Japanese cuisine alongside theatricals and sumo wrestlers – both real and fake, is entering the fiercely competitive dining industry in Dubai (the emirate has some 20,000 restaurants) this year.
“TAB® is a modern and creative approach to Japanese cuisine,” said Aleix Garcia, Managing Partner at Infini Concepts, a hotel concept development company based in the United Arab Emirates. company registrar.
“You won’t find dishes you’ll find anywhere else. We always put a different spin on it, not only in the ingredients we use, but also in the way it’s presented, how it mixes with the drink pairing and the entertainment options.
The creative take is evident in the decor of TAB®, which includes a giant samurai-inspired mural, a wall covered in small statues of sumo wrestlers, and two giants on the terrace positioned to look like they’re supporting the Burj. Khalifa, who stands tall in the background. It’s no surprise that Free time recently ranked the venue as one of the most Instagrammable places in Dubai
But it is also evident in its avant-garde staging.
Diners will not only see quirky acts on stage, with characters dressed in glamorous and even outrageous costumes, but they might see some casually strolling around, including a real sumo wrestler.
“So you’ll come to a Japanese restaurant and very rarely, in fact, you never see that anywhere, you’ll find a real sumo wrestler,” Garcia said.
The idea was “a bit of a quirky approach. We want customers to come here and feel like, oh wow, this is a guy who’s obviously a professional summer wrestler putting some play into it. We wanted to bring some characters that would tell a bit of a Japanese underground approach,” he explained.
The concept of doing something different was important to Garcia because he believes having good food is no longer enough.
When opening a restaurant, it’s more important than ever to “create a story behind it, to create a bit more of an atmosphere, an overall experience,” he explained.
“When we talk about food, we shouldn’t just focus on the culinary creative aspect behind it, I think it’s very important to also talk about the atmosphere and the service, because in the end, people don’t just come to eat, they come here for an experience.”
Commenting on the food and beverage industry in Dubai, he said: “Dubai is an incredibly competitive market compared to other very large international markets.”
“My experience in Germany, the UK and Spain, I have never seen so many restaurants open at the same time or in the same year at a high caliber. I’m not talking about casual dining, I’m talking about fine dining, very restaurants well executed.
“I think Dubai is a very mature market and I think because of all these factors it’s extremely important that the offer not only stands out in terms of food.”
And he must know what he is talking about. Infini’s focus is on uniqueness and creativity and this is the driving force behind the concepts of Billionaire Dubai, described as an “Italian and neo-Asian restaurant” offering a “theatrical extravaganza” and as well as the restaurant of Miss Tess street food.
But Garcia cautions against being “too creative – some people won’t understand it and appreciate it”. The trick is to find the right balance, “which takes a lot of work”.
Infini’s future plans
Looking ahead to plans for the rest of 2022, it’s hard to be in the hospitality industry in Dubai and not talk about the FIFA World Cup in neighboring Qatar.
According ReutersThousands of fans are expected to descend on the Gulf city due to limited accommodation in Qatar.
“It’s only a 50-minute flight to Dubai from Qatar, which is fantastic. The relationship between the two governments is also fantastic. We don’t know exactly how much that will impact the market, but we know it will,” Garcia said.
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Infini” is working closely and communicating with the hotels in which we operate so that they can give us estimated figures on the evolution of bookings during the months of November and December so that we can be ready for this additional influx of customers. ”
Not one to rest on its laurels, Infini will also be launching another restaurant next month.
“We have a new venue coming next month in October called Hayal, it’s also a very creative take on Turkish cuisine, and hopefully we can talk more about it soon,” Garcia said.