Popular Singaporean chef Reif Othman has confirmed to Caterer Middle East in an exclusive interview that his much lauded The Experience dining concept will “100%” be making a return in the future.
Othman has recently left his position at SumosanTwiga where he was overseeing the brand’s operations in Moscow, London, and Dubai, to focus on putting together his own projects in 2019.
First on the list for Othman is a number of collaborations with some of his favourite Dubai chefs including Roberto Segura from Waka and Omar Rodriguez at Slab.
With regards to Slab, the home-grown concept has struggled in recent months, with Othman saying there is simply not the footfall in the area as was promised by La Mer.
“I want to do what I can with my followers,” explained Othman, “and do a collaboration with chef Omar. I want to help out a few home-grown brands and give that awareness of them rather than focus on the big boys.”
It’s a similar situation at Waka which Othman believes has just missed out on the Peruvian craze that saw the likes of Coya go on to huge success, but Othman is a big fan of Segura’s concept.
He said: “We are looking to do something in January with Roberto, he’s proven very much to me. The Peruvian era is finished, now it’s Greek food, everyone is so crazy over Greek. This is the thing where the hype is just for a while. He created Waka and it’s just not pushing on so I’m here to help.
“We’re doing four-hands stuff. He’ll showcase his stuff, I’ll showcase my own stuff. The whole thing is all about connecting chefs in Dubai and working with them.”
There are other collaborations and pop-ups in the pipeline for Othman while he looks to confirm an investor to set up his own restaurant again after summer – including bringing back The Experience which closed back in February 2018.
“I will bring it back,” he confirmed to Caterer Middle East. “But I won’t bring it back like it was before. I have to change the whole sequence, change the whole feeling, but The Experience is still going to be there 100%. It’s my thing.”
The current economic climate is a concern, Othman admits, when it comes to exactly how it will return.
“The cost is pretty high and now Dubai people are not spending. I have a customer of mine who used to spend AED 80,000 a night… now he says ‘Reif, go slow.’ For them to say go slow it’s a worry. I have to be smart on my next step. I’m not hurrying to do The Experience, I’m more focused on the casual stuff that I want do and in the end I will start with my Experience when the time is right.”
For more news on Othman’s future plans and what his next step in the Dubai market will be, check out the full interview in the February issue of Caterer Middle East.
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