Tasha's owner to open new concept in DIFC; Two F&B winners at Hotelier Awards; Icons Coffee Couture plans major GCC expansion.
The restaurateur is also opening three more tashas cafés in the next six months
The restaurateur behind the tashas café chain and Madinat Jumeirah concept Flamingo Room by tashas is to open a new Greek-inspired restaurant at DIFC at the turn of the year.
Natasha Sideris, who is of South African and Greek heritage, expects to open Avli by the end of December, taking the place at the bottom of the Four Seasons of La Luz which closed last summer.
It’s a chance for Sideris to show off the range and quality of a cuisine which is close to her heart.
Speaking exclusively to Caterer Middle East she said: “I’ve always wanted to do a Greek restaurant, but there’s a perception that Greek food is pretty one dimensional — olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper — which is in fact not the truth. Greek food has a huge variety.”
The new opening has had its challenges, with the expected opening delayed as construction had to stop while they installed noise proofing — a peril of building what will be a lively concept into a working hotel.
With no white tablecloths on show, Avli is going for a more accessible vibe than many of its competitors in DIFC, while remaining at the top end of the market. A “galaxy bar” inspired by the stars and in collaboration with Metaxa brandy will be a prestigious destination set apart from the main dining area.
Sideris told us she was just back from a trip to Greece where she was hiring many of the staff for Avli, with authenticity key to its success. “We are 60% there on staff,” she said. “We do two months training for all our stores. People faint when they hear that because it’s very costly but without training there’s nothing.”
As well as opening Avli, Sideris is undertaking to open up three new tashas in Dubai concurrently, before finally taking a break from empire building.
“The first one will be in Marina Mall. A very small shop, boutique in size. Then we are opening at Al Jalila next to the Al Jalila cultural centre. I’m not going to say it’s kiddie focused but there will be a lot of stuff on the menu for the kids at the cultural centre – a big focus on health and changing perception about healthy eating. Then the last one will be happening early next year in Barsha at the Galleria Mall.
“Then I’m going to put the handbrake on and we’re going to consolidate and spend the whole of the next 12-18 months focusing on product, service, and training. That’s it.”
Natasha Sideris outside the currentlyunder construction Avli in DIFC