By Devina Divecha
Skelmore Hospitality partners with Michelin-starred Enrico Bartolini, and will open Roberto's in UAE capital
Skelmore Hospitality Group chairman Amin Kadrie has revealed extensive plans to increase the company’s footprint across the UAE, as well as plans for a wider global reach.
He said: “We’re going to double and triple our business over the next two or three years.”
Adding to the presence of Roberto’s Restaurant & Lounge, Dubai, Skelmore will open its second venue in the UAE in Abu Dhabi’s Galleria Mall on Maryah Island in Q1 2016.
The restaurant will be 100 percent owned by Skelmore Group, said Kadrie, adding that while the restaurant will have the “critical elements that makes Roberto’s a success”, the execution with regards to furnishing and design will be tailored to Abu Dhabi.
Roberto’s Abu Dhabi will have a fine dining restaurant, lounge and outdoor terrace with a 440 seating capacity. “The reason why is that the potential is substantial — almost 30 percent of our guests at the weekend come from Abu Dhabi.” The restaurant will also offer a breakfast, and will feature an extended kitchen for outside catering.
Commenting on possible GCC expansion, Kadrie said: “The Roberto’s brand will only be established in countries which allow the Roberto’s business model to work — so we’re not planning to be in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait any time soon. But certainly Oman, Qatar and Bahrain have sites that we’d like to look at in the future.”
Adding to the group’s portfolio is a new concept called Mercato, which will open its first location in the DIFC Gate Village in Q1 2016. “It is a casual Italian dining experience with a significant element of gourmet,” explained Kadrie.
He continued: “It is a GCC-wide concept, that will be developed by both corporate and franchising.”
Emphasising that everything will be cooked from scratch including the pizza, pastas and breads, Kadrie also added that the sourcing will focus on high quality ingredients.
“The idea that you can have great food and a great experience, but not with a high price, is what it’s all about,” added the Skelmore chairman.
Finally, he revealed that two-star Michelin chef Enrico Bartolini, of Devero Restaurant Italy, has been appointed chief culinary advisor of the Roberto’s Group. Bartolini’s role will involve advising, creating and designing new dishes and menus for Roberto’s Group, including Roberto’s in DIFC and Roberto’s Abu Dhabi.
Kadrie said this development was a testament to show that the company is “not just a home-grown local brand” but is one that aspires to grow on a global level. He added: “We have great chefs but the objective of having someone in Enrico’s capacity is to continue to offer new ideas and thinking, so we can continue to reinvent ourselves.”
Kadrie said that although in the early stages, Skelmore Hospitality Group is also looking to expand operations into Asia by 2017.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Soon to be the first class Italian fine dining in abu dhabi. But when it will be open?