The Top 20 Outlet Interiors: #10-1

    A round-up of the region's best and brightest F&B outlet interiors
    Which outlets made it into the top 10 of Caterer's Top 20 Outlet Interiors?
    Which outlets made it into the top 10 of Caterer's Top 20 Outlet Interiors?
    Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire.
    Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire.
    Spice Market by Jean-Georges.
    Spice Market by Jean-Georges.

     The Top 20 Outlet Interiors is Caterer Middle East’s pick of the most unique, successful and true-to-concept F&B designs from around the region.
    These outlets demonstrate how the right design can raise an outlet’s profile, drive business and win customer loyalty.

    Click here to see who was placed from 20 to 11 — or read on to see who made the top 10…


    Please note that the Top 20 Outlet Interiors is an entirely subjective list.

    The list — which comprises both independent and hotel outlets — was compiled following recommendations offered by industry professionals and company colleagues.

    The final ranking was selected based on the design’s originality, its success as a working outlet and how well the interior supported the concept behind the operation.

    We welcome your feedback, so please click on ‘Comment’ halfway up this page to voice your opinions!


    A team from WA International worked on the Hukama concept, and others at The Address — design director Claire Craig and associate senior designer Helen Skea came up with the planning and concept designs, while project manager and architect Srinivas Mohan detailing and coordinating on site.

    “Hukama is a Far Eastern speciality restaurant, designed for more intimate dining — and the
    Décor really evokes all the senses,” asserts Skea.

    ”Dramatic six-metre high ceilings lend the interior a striking scale, while specialist-designed lighting suspended two metres from ceiling gives the interior a more human scale, with a dark St Laurent marble floor and exotic Zebrano polished wood adding to this rich, warm interior.”

    According to Skea, sucecessful F&B outlets must not only be inspiring interior spaces; they must also ensure good operational flow and circulation throughout the outlet, from both a customer and an employee’s point of view.

    “The interiors are critical to entice the customer, but the food and service is crucial in ensuring that they keep coming back — so this circulation and flow, is really important,” she adds.


    Kerzner International Development collaborated with world-renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa and The Rockwell Group to create the first Nobu restaurant in the Middle East.

    The hotel’s vice president food and beverage, Martin Chung, says what makes the design so special is the harmony between both the Japan- and Atlantis-inspired elements.

    “Organic and ancient Japanese elements in new forms and shapes were incorporated to capture the essence of Atlantis — the wonder, the water and the sense of discovery,” he explains.

    According to Chung, interior design in an F&B outlet needs to “underscore and enforce the food concept to make it a complete dining experience”.

    “The secret to creating a successful outlet interior is efficiency and sophistication,” he adds. “The design of the room has to enhance the customer’s experience.”


    High-profile design firm LW Design took the lead for this outlet, which Le Méridien Dubai executive assistant manager Stephane Blanc describes as “unlike any other that exits in Dubai”.

    “Original and innovative interior design ensures that the exemplary food, drink and service is complemented by the ambiance, creating an unforgettable overall dining experience,” Blance says.

    “It’s just one of the key ingredients that keeps guests coming back for more.”


    Wilson Associates designed the Park Hyatt’s Traiteur outlet interior, which sets the tone with a sweeping staircase, dramatic origami-wall and on-stage kitchen.

    “The magnificent showpiece staircase connects the restaurant’s two levels and gives great views of the kitchens,” notes the property’s director of F&B, Michael Allegra.

    “The massive space is compartmentalised into three areas that gives it a dramatic feel — the general dining in the middle, a raised timber area beneath the origami wall which has lounge-style dining feel, and the so-called ‘rib cage’. It also has an upper bar that is suspended from the ceiling.

    ”At the inception stages of a restaurant’s conception, we factor in many variables to create the perfect dining experience,” explains Allegra.

    “One of these vital aspects is restaurant interior design and functionality.

    “The overall interior must help to create lasting impression in the guest’s minds of the whole experience: food, service and ambiance.”


    As for Hukama at number 10, The Address’ Neos bar and lounge was designed by the team at WA International.

    ”All the restaurants and lounges of the hotel exude luxury and understated glamour, whilst retaining their individualities,” says WA International’s associate senior designer, Helen Skea.

    In Neos, a ‘Sky Lounge’ located on the 63rd floor, the design firm “reinvented the outrageous decadence of the 1920’s in its adaptation of Art Deco opulence”, she explains.

    “Glistening black star galaxy granite flooring creates a base for the mirror polished steel banded columns rising dramatically through the interior, which enhance the sultry monochromatic colour palette of black, silver, grey with a hint of rich burgundy to add warmth,” Skea continues.

    “With restaurants and lounges in fierce competition within this region, people are always looking for something different. There has to be impeccable service, fabulous food, value for money — and all of these needs to be housed within a uniquely special interior.

    “The design of interior spaces is therefore crucial to a space which not only attracts guests in the first place, but it also needs to be kept up-to-date to ensure clients keep coming back. “


    Zuma Dubai’s interior concept was created by designer Noriyoshi Muramatsu, of Tokyo design firm Studio Glitt — the man responsible for the interiors of Zuma’s other restaurants in London, Hong Kong and Istanbul.

    “He was inspired by the six elements of Earth, Fire, Iron, Wood, Water and Air,” says Zuma Dubai operations director Elmar Pichorner.

    “The aim was to create not only novelty but also a sense of nostalgia. Noriyoshi tried to create the space for guests to enjoy walking around and looking at beautiful views in the restaurant,” he explains.

    Interior design is crucially important in the up-market segment of the F&B market, according to Pichorner.

    “Guests with higher disposable incomes not only choose the fundamental offering of food and beverage, but very much also take ambience into account when selecting a preferred venue,” he noted.

    “If you had two outlets to choose from that both have identical F&B offerings and price, one located in a barren space, the other with a comfortable, attractive interior, where would you go?

    “The thing to remember is that design has to create an ambience that appeals to all senses — sight, touch, smell, and sound — as well as being flexible enough to allow the venue to adjust the experience through the day’s moods.”


    The interior of Asian outlet Junsui was designed by KCA International, whose design principal Khuan Chew has a long-standing association with the iconic Jumeirah property, having been the interior designer for the entire hotel.

    Burj Al Arab hotel manager Ammar Hilal explains: “The concept of Junsui, meaning ‘pure’ in Japanese, is reflected in the design, layout, and all the materials used. Junsui’s ‘wow factor’ is in the mixture of both glamorous and unusual materials coming together in finishes that, although not necessarily compatible, create a dynamic and exciting visual experience.

    “The quality of the food and service standards are of utmost importance, but design has become equally important when it comes to any dining experience,” adds Hilal.

    “Today there are a lot of themed restaurants concepts where it is important that the design reflect the style of food and how the food is served.

    “Considering the competition out there a unique design concept can be a huge differentiator, and is an important aspect of the overall dining experience.”


    Chic outlet Reflets, designed by Christian Ghion, was established by three-star Michelin chef Pierre Gagnaire.

    “The menu has specialties the chef calls ‘multi-sensory hits’, created by blending unexpected tastes and textures, and this concept is mirrored in the outlet’s design,” explains restaurant director Etienne Haro.

    “From day one, the interaction between the menu and the design was very strong. What helped most is that Christian Ghion knows Pierre Gagnaire. Having a completely blank canvas to work with allowed the designer total freedom to develop a restaurant that would match the Gagnaire’s food.

    “The name Reflets, which means ‘reflections’ in French, came to embody the many layers of symbolism at the heart of the menu and the outlet’s design,” Haro continues.

    “The private elevator transports guests from the lobby of directly to the restaurant, where the reflections theme is carried through via a mirrored corridor and mother-of-pearl walls to the seating area beyond.

    “Lavender-coloured Murano glass chandeliers are suspended above baroque furniture, creating an unmistakable statement of style and decadence, yet with a fashionably contemporary finish.

    “The rosewood Louis XIV chairs padded with a fuchsia velvet cushioning and bespoke linen tablecloths were custom-designed and made for the restaurant, along with almost all other furnishings.


    To create the Spice Market concept at the GCC’s first W hotel, Jean-George Vongerichten’s Culinary Concepts worked closely with UK-based United Designers to create an environment that would integrate the concept behind the outlet and the hotel’s design elements.

    “Design and its functionality directly affect an F&B business in a very fundamental way,” said a spokesperson for Culinary Concepts.

    “Every design feature in Spice Market works to create a vibrant, yet harmonious space.

    “Colours and textures have an equal voice and work with the candle-lit ambience, lanterns and handcrafted screens.”


    Topping our list of fine designs is Okku restaurant at The Monarch Dubai.

    Designed by LW Design, Okku was designed “to give a very private and intimate feel with various areas catering to different dining experiences,” explains co-founder Markus Thesleff.

    “Design to us is equally important as the quality of our ingredients and the passion of our staff,” he continues.

    “We’ve incorporated the four base elements of earth, wind, fire and water in the design. The outlet is spread over three levels, including a VIP mezzanine floor — there is a dazzling eight-metre long ‘jellyquarium’ situated behind the bar, enhanced by state of the art lighting; the bars are made of the finest marble and natural stones; the walls are hand finished in Italian plaster, with fine leathers and silks to touch.

    “Everything has a story, and with lots of personal touches that reflect our passion.”

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    Please note that the Top 20 Outlet Interiors is an entirely subjective list.

    We welcome your feedback, so please click on ‘Comment’ halfway up this page to voice your opinions!

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