Inside Dubai's latest dining destination
Wafi venue Qbara aims to redefine contemporary Arabesque dining
The new lifestyle dining concept, Qbara, has been developed with a focus on new age Arabesque cuisine and culture. Meaning ‘large and generous’ in Arabic, the name is also a twist on ‘Arabic’ when spelt backwards. This signals the destination’s desire to embrace modern concepts. Located in Dubai’s Wafi Fort complex, adjacent to The Raffles Dubai, Qbara is spread over two floors and can host over 300 seated guests within a 13,000 square foot area. Its menu has been developed by executive chef Colin Clague who has influenced the Dubai dining scene as the opening chef of both Zuma Dubai and The Ivy. “The flavours and spicing are authentic to the Middle East, but the methods and recipes are entirely new and wholly ours. It is a step forward for Dubai’s home-grown restaurant culture that we are confident diners will love,” Clague stated. Qbara’s menu has been designed with the concept where all diners share plates in a convivial family style. Dishes are brought to the tables continuously throughout the meal. Qbara’s interiors are designed by Tokyo-based Studio Glitt’s Noriyoshi Muramatsu – also behind Zuma Dubai - and based on traditional Middle Eastern vernacular with a modern twist. The venue’s entrance script wall is a cast bronze artwork depicting a fabric of poems, sayings and lifestyle statements related to food, entertainment & a love for life. The art piece was manufactured by metal artist John Underwood, based in Phuket, and boasts a 4.5 metre height and 7 metre length. The focal architectural feature is a carved timber panel wall stretching 12 metres wide and 10 metres tall behind the bar counter which is made up of 60 individual panels of authentic Islamic timber carvings patched together. The carved timber theme is further extended to suspended ceiling panels above the lounge. The ground floor restaurant, which features the main dining and almaz lounge area, is surrounded by antique Afghan carpets dyed to a rusty orange colour and mounted on waved panels to give a flying carpet illusion. The first floor finishes are inspired by the ambiance of a traditional souk and feature three private majilis areas and a babel room which seats 35 guests. All the uniforms are designed by UAE-based fashion designer Essa, who is of Indian origin and Arab sensibilities. The designer is known for using vintage fabrics and vibrant chiffons. Qbara will also present a signature soundtrack which will be a key element of its culture following the likes of Buddha Bar and Hotel Costes. The Arabesque cuisine and culture of Qbara aims to set a new standard in the Middle Eastern dining experiences. The venue is developed by JAS Hospitality, with a goal of eventually rolling-out the concept internationally.