First look: 19 new restaurant & bar launches in the GCC

Check out the GCC region's key restaurant, bar and cafe openings of Q2 2016, and beyond
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Ramusake - Dubai

\nJapanese fine dining restaurant Ramusake has opened in Dubai at the Hilton DoubleTree in Jumeirah Beach Residence, designed by Mariko Yuki. The London brand offers dishes such as tuna sashimi pizza, fried truffle and cheese dumplings with truffle ponzu, and fried chicken kara-age sliders with kimchee mayo and pickles. On the beverage side, alongside cocktails and mocktails, Ramusake has 19 different types of sake on the menu.
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Mercato - Dubai

\nHomegrown Italian restaurant Mercato opened in DIFC, launched by Skelmore hospitality, the brand owner of Roberto’s Restaurant & Lounge. Its name was inspired by Mercato Centrale in Florence. The restaurant incorporates a retail space, positioning itself as an Italian grocer. It sells goods imported from Italy, including roasted coffee beans, cheese, cured meats and fresh pasta. Mercato also bakes its own bread on-site and has a full-time artisan baker in residence.
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Café Bateel - Ras Al Khaimah

\nBateel International opened its first outlet in Ras Al Khaimah, located within Al Naeem Mall. It combines a retail boutique, selling items such as dates and chocolates, and a café, serving Mediterranean cuisine with Arabian influences. Covering close to 4,000 ft2, the venue includes an outdoor seating area.
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Scape Restaurant & Bar menu - Dubai

\nBurj Al Arab has opened a new F&B outlet within its new beach club, The Terrace. While The Terrace is open only to members and hotel guests, Scape Restaurant & Bar is open to the public. The kitchen is overseen by head chef Timur Fazilov, who has previously worked at Zuma Dubai and Catch Abu Dhabi, and features a 'Californian fusion style' menu, which includes signature dishes such as hamachi crudo, with ponzu, pistachio, citrus zest, shallot rings and olives; scallop tiradito with tiger milk, apple and red radish; slow roasted Wagyu short ribs with pomelo, candied peanut, Swiss chard and pave potato; and chocolate peanut pot de crème.
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Shake Shack - Bahrain

\nManhattan casual dining restaurant chain Shake Shack opened its first outpost in Bahrain in May, featuring signature items such as the ShackBurger, Shack-cago Dog, crinkle-cut fries, and frozen custard ice cream. The new 412 m2 outlet is located between the cinema and Sharaf DG, within City Centre Bahrain in Manama, near the Gate 9 parking entrance.
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Bazxar - Dubai

\nBazhar has been described as a ‘food-market-restaurant-wine-bar’ concept, and is located in Gate Precinct Building 4, in DIFC. The new venue was launched by the co-founders Kunal and Rania Lahori of Create Hospitality, the group responsible for Dubai-based F&B brands El Sur and Prêt To Go. The restaurant is split between a Vietnamese food station, serving items such as steamed bao buns, soups and noodles; a 'Meat District', serving burgers and hotdogs; a bakery and coffee counter; and a wine bar, offering a list of 30 wines by the glass. There is also a lounge area at Bazxar, where there will be a soundtrack of chill out music.
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1762 Smoked - Dubai

\nDubai-founded gourmet deli 1762 unveiled a food truck called 1762 Smoked in Q2. Over the space of eight months, beginning in 2015, the company restored a 1966 London Routemaster double decker bus, nicknamed Monty - after John Montague, the Earl of Sandwich - to provide al fresco dining at events and for private hire. 1762 Smoked features a Meadow Creek smoker to provide a charred touch to meals such as slow-cooked Asian beef ribs and truffle mash, smoky chargrilled corn with jalapeno lime butter or Jamaican jerk chicken.
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Ting Irie - Dubai

\nDubai’s first home-grown Jamaican restaurant and lounge opened on Downtown Boulevard in April, seating 180 people. Ting Irie has executive chef Craig Wong at the helm. He has previously worked in Michelin starred restaurants, including Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée and Heston Blumental’s Fat Duck.

\nMany of the Caribbean ingredients and spices are imported from Jamaica, including Scotch Bonnet peppers and Pimento seeds, with Wong reporting that the kitchen is "not shy about bold flavours or fun modern ideas". In July, the restaurant launched a brunch called 'Family Fun’ch' with a menu of Jamaican classics, such as jerk chicken, fish escovitch and funnel cake.
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Totora Cebicheria Peruana - Dubai

\nTotora, serving Peruvian cuisine, is set over two floors in DIFC Gate Village. Its name comes from a reed grown at Peru’s Lake Titicaca, where indigenous residents use the dried plant to make a floating sail boat similar to a canoe or surf board. Alongside Peruvian dishes on the menu, the bar at Totora Cebicheria Peruana displays fresh Peruvian fruits, which will be used in purees to create cocktails.
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Café Bateel - Kuwait

\nBateel International opened its first café in Kuwait, within Avenues Mall, in April. For the first time, its partnered with interior design agency Bishop UK in creating a look specifically tailored to the Kuwait market, using earth-tone colours fused with natural elements. The boutique and café combined spans over 4,500 sq ft, with the latter accommodating 150 guests, and features a balcony terrace on the first floor for outdoor dining.
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Al Falamanki - Dubai

\nLebanese restaurant Al Falamanki chose Dubai for its first international outpost, across from the Four Seasons Hotel Jumeirah Beach Resort. The restaurant concept hails from Beirut, where it has been operating since 2008. It was named after Khalil Al Falamanki, a Lebanese wrestler-turned bodyguard, and was founded by restaurateurs Tony Ramy and Mario Jr. Haddad, and businessmen Sheikh Najib Abou Hamze and Mohamad Siblani. The new outlet, which serves traditional Lebanese food, can accommodate up to 500 guests.
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Under 500

\nThis new independent and health-conscious café opened two outlets in Dubai, one located in JLT, and one in Business Bay in Q2. Under 500's concept is that all dishes on the menu are under 500 calories, therefore the menu has been designed to be healthy, in the style of home-made cooking, and to “incorporate nutrient dense ingredients”. It also offers options that are raw, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, high-protein, and low-carb. The café offers à la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Dishes on the menu include chicken lettuce tacos, grilled salmon and avocado, and a lean beef burger.
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Miss Lily’s - Dubai

\nCaribbean restaurant concept Miss Lily's, originally from New York City, opened in Dubai in July. The restaurant, which has two branches in New York, opened its first branch outside of NYC at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Dubai, next to Dubai World Trade Centre.

\nMiss Lily’s is described by the restaurant as a 'beach shack meets Jamaican diner', and features a soundtrack of reggae and old-school ska. Head chef Adam Schop is in charge of the kitchen, with dishes on the menu including fusion items such as jerk ramen.
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Wok & Co - Dubai

\nContemporary Asian fusion restaurant Wok & Co opened at the Ibis One Central in April. The new restaurant is the mid-market hotel’s all-day dining restaurant and offers oriental dishes prepared with a modern-day twist.

\nIn addition to its à la carte menu, Wok & Co's promotions include a three-course lunchtime meal priced from AED 69, and an Asian cuisine-themed Friday brunch starting from AED 99.
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Prime - Saudi Arabia

\nSteak restaurant Prime is located on the lobby level of the newly opened Conrad Makkah. The restaurant, which is open for lunch and dinner, features an open kitchen and offers views of the Haram.
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San Francisco Coffee Company - Abu Dhabi

\nGerman café chain San Francisco Coffee Company has opened its first branch outside of Germany, located at Al Seef Resort & Spa by Andalus, serving 100% organic certified coffee, pastries, desserts and light snacks. The café is located at Mamsha Al Seef by Andalus, a project which Andalus Hotels and Resorts describes as a European-style boulevard with over 20 dining and retail outlets.
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#999 - Qatar

\nA new café and food truck, named #999 after the emergency phone number used in Qatar, has opened at Doha Fire Station, an art gallery housed in former Civil Defence headquarters. The new café is a collaboration between Qatar Museums and Salam Hospitality, and is part of a new development project for the art gallery, which will include a restaurant, art supply shop and cinema. #999 is offering a dine-in menu at the café, as well as a menu of takeaway items from the food truck stationed outside. The truck itself has been converted from a vintage Qatar fire engine, and is the second food truck to open in Qatar. Items on the menu include camel kofta wrap, sujuk burger and saffron iced tea, plus café staples such as soups, salads, pastries, paninis, and coffee.
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WAHM - Qatar

\nW Doha has reopened its poolside lounge bar WAHM, following nearly three months of refurbishment. The design at WAHM was conducted by United Design Partnership, which was also responsible for the re-design of Market by Jean-Georges restaurant, also at the W Doha. The hotel is also conducting a full renovation of its pool area, the Wet Deck in August.
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Ten Street - Dubai

\nLocated in Oasis Tower, the new late night venue offers Canadian-inspired food, including smoked BBQ ribs and sharing platters, and will refresh its food and beverage menus every 10 weeks.

\nIts interiors are inspired by the New York subway and each area of the venue, which is open daily until 3am, is filled with something different, restaurant and hotel developer RMAL Hospitality said in a statement. Ten Street has three full-size 10-ball pool tables, a number of screens showing sports action and a private karaoke room.
Thu 04 Aug 2016 04:01 PM GST
By Sarah Jacotine