Caterer Middle East

Alexander Orlov

Co-founder of Bulldozer Group talks about his plans for Sharjah

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Regional culinary heavyweigh­t Bulldozer Group is launching casual concepts in Sharjah’s City Centre Al Zahia. The hospitalit­y group and restaurant operator has recently opened the modern Middle Eastern outlet Sand, serving upmarket dishes and elegant mocktails. Tanuki, a Japanese izakaya, followed at the end of the year.

Caterer Middle East spoke with Alexander Orlov co-founder of Bulldozer Group about his plans for Sharjah.

Orlov said: “We launched this venue in Sharjah because we believe that we could add something valuable to the F&B scene in the emirate. The food we will serve will be quite familiar to the guests, with elevated Middle Eastern cuisine. We will add the special angle of Central Asian cuisine, like Uzbekistan­i and Georgian dishes.”

The menu features mezze, pastries and barbecue dishes. “We have an open kitchen, which is the centrepiec­e of the venue. Guests can watch the chefs grill their meal,” Orlov added.

“We chose Sharjah because we wanted to launch the new concept in an area that offers less F&B saturation and competitio­n. This [City Centre Al Zahia] is a great mall, it’s very cool. I know the population who visits the mall will come to us. We are also close to the university area, so I hope we can attract students as well. We came to give Sharjah the best. I am con dent that this mall will be the centre of the F&B scene in Sharjah.”

The 110-cover venue has indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor terrace is surrounded by greenery, while the inside looks more like an Arabian desert. Orlov said: “We wanted a very modern Arabic interior. It’s like a desert, but cool-looking and very trendy. The plants in the middle of the restaurant are very Instagram friendly, and I think many people will come and take pictures of our interiors.”

Focusing on Mocktails at Sand

The mocktail list at Sand is extensive. It is inspired by local avours, looking to satisfy Sharjah’s “most discerning palates.” They include the Gold Swan Mocktail made with apple, elder ower and edible gold, and the Sand Mocktail with chocolate, fruit aroma and a hue of violet. Orlov elaborated: “I feel like we have enough alcoholic concepts in Dubai. So our focus is more causal.

Obviously, we are alcohol-free because we are in Sharjah, but I think not serving drinks gives us a chance to expand regionally as well.

“We made these mocktails especially for people who like to drink something that looks good. We expect many guests will capture the mocktails for Instagram. We wanted to be inclusive to all the non-alcoholic drinkers and give them something special.”

Another bene t is that the venue can keep its prices competitiv­e. “We are affordable and our offering is not overpriced,” Orlov added.

On launching Tanuki next door

“The outlet right next door to Sand is our new Japanese street food spot Tanuki,” said Orlov. The venue is inspired by Japanese izakayas, with a trendy and comfortabl­e setting. The chain has 70 locations across the globe, including Ukraine, Russia and the USA. The menu includes cold and hot starters, tempura selections, rice and noodles, yakitori collection, robata grill, hand rolls, maki and other Japanese stables.

“It will be a different style than Sand, but each gives visitors a very different offering. Our goal is to cater to all kinds of customers,” Orlov concluded.

Bulldozer Group is now running popular dining venues across Dubai and Sharjah and now has sights on internatio­nal hotspots such as Monaco, Moscow, Miami and London. There are also plans to expand into Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

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Sand's classy interiors

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