Outlet 360: Crab Market Dubai
Front of House
Seafood concept Crab Market is a home-grown offering, created by the Bulldozer Group with the White Rabbit Family. The nautical-themed restaurant is located in Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC. It can seat 175 people in the restaurant and lounge.
Bulldozer Group co-founder Alexander Orlov tells Caterer Middle East that the DIFC location was chosen to target a cosmopolitan clientele, “people accustomed to the world’s best restaurants”. Orlov adds: “We were specific about tailoring the menu to local tastes and the demand for quality products.”
Interior design was led by Geometry Design, an international group of designers specialising in F&B projects. Orlov continues: “For this particular venue, the team focused on creating a dining marvel with stunning views from the 15th floor, including of the Burj Khalifa. The lounge area has been created in the shape of a yacht to give a true nautical touch. We have a wonderful collaboration with Geometry Design, having previously worked with them on the design of Novikov London and Novikov Dubai.”
A significant amount of the restaurant’s furnishings and serveware were locally sourced. Bulldozer Group worked with local suppliers FRAG for Italian leather furniture, Kenai and RAK Ceramics for plates, and several companies for the bar, including Muddle Me, Naranja, Blue Ribbon and I Love Cocktails.
Inspired by fish markets around the world, the restaurant features an ice market and saltwater tanks with live seafood. Guests can select their catch, using a special claw crane to dip into the crab tank.
The team's combined international experience, spanning the UK, US, Russia and Middle East, will lead the restaurant to success, Orlov asserts. “We are also keen on educating diners on our crab selection, imported from all over the world.”
As guests are to be served through the day, the ambience had to accommodate laid-back lunch-time dining, business lunches as well as an evening scene. It is a trendy, relaxed environment until 6pm when a live DJ takes over the lounge.
He concludes: “Crab Market is created by Bulldozer Group, White Rabbit Family and chef Vladimir Mukhin, ranked #23 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We have no current plans for expansion, but we will re-assess this in the next year. After all, you never know what the future may hold.”
Back of House
Bulldozer Group co-founder Alexander Orlov tells Caterer Middle East: “Having opened several successful restaurant concepts in Dubai over the last four years including Sass Café, Cipriani, Novikov and Downtown Toko [no longer with Bulldozer Group], it came to our attention that Dubai’s restaurant landscape was missing an affordable seafood destination, and we decided to create one. When we found a unique opportunity to import Kamchatka king crab directly from Russia, we had no doubt that it would make a great addition to the region’s dining scene.”
Through the partnership with the White Rabbit Family, the menu at Crab Market was created by Russian chef Vladimir Mukhin, who is No. 23 in the World’s 50 Best list, and was most recently the subject of a one-hour episode of Netflix series, Chef’s Table.
With seafood specialities at the heart of its concept, guests can enjoy an array of fresh seafood items, with signature dishes including Kamchatka crabs from Russia.
Mukhin told Caterer Middle East that when people try his food, he wants them to think that it’s the “taste of Russia”. Coming from a family with many generations of chefs, Mukhin believes that “seafood is the food of the future”. He continues: “I’ve been to many restaurants in this city but I haven’t seen any good seafood restaurants here. So I thought why not do something?”
He enjoys cooking crab, and with many interesting sauces to use with it. His team in Dubai includes 40 cooks — a big and diverse team, with chefs from Russia, India and the USA. Mukhin adds: “There are some chefs from White Rabbit [in Russia]. I bought my pastry chef here because I wanted to see the influence of the Russian honey cake, for example. We want to use dates in our dishes as well. It’s very important for us to have a local influence and start working together. There can be cultural exchange through food. This, for me, is real fusion. We can make something new — why not?”
He elaborates: “When you dine here, you must try our specials like the hummus with crab, or the babaganoush with scampi or scallops.” Mukhin likes to immerse himself fully in the culture, people and ingredients to make his dishes relevant to the city while staying true to the cuisine of origin.
Mukhin adds: “When people come to our restaurant, I talk to them. I have learned from the streets of this city, the markets and the people. I loved the old fish market. The hummus with crab was inspired by it and will be a signature dish here.”
Mukhin also reiterates the food will be affordable. He adds: “We don’t want to be super expensive. That’s why we use local ingredients, because it’s cheaper.” Non-committal about future expansion, he says the first priority is to ensure the restaurant delivers food that is “simply, beautiful, and tasty”.