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

Caterer Middle East - - Contents -

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

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