A special location requires special restaurants, so it’s not surprise the long-awaited The Opus by Zaha Hadid building has filled itself with top quality F&B.
While world-renowned Japanese concept Roka may take the headlines by trading on its reputation as sister-restaurant to Dubai-favourite Zuma, locals have been lining up to test out the latest restaurant from homegrown brand The Maine.
Following on from the original Maine Oyster Bar & Grill and Maine Street Eatery which opened in the Studio One hotel in 2019, The Maine Land Brasserie is a more city-focused outlet.
“It's designed as a 'grande dame' brasserie with our wood-panelled walls, cathedral-esque windows, and crystal chandeliers,’ explained The Maine founder and managing partner Joey Ghazal.
While the rest of Dubai has taken a breath to react to the current coronavirus situation, with some established restaurants yet to open, there was no such delay at The Maine. The restaurant opened its doors for the first time post-lockdown and has seen a high level of demand, despite the restrictions.
Anticipating people’s reservations about eating out, Ghazal has been active on social media with videos explaining the new regulations and how The Maine would look after its customers. “Everyone is different, some guests couldn't wait to get out and others needed to be convinced, but once they came out and saw the extra safety measures that we had implemented and experienced the atmosphere again, they felt more at ease. We're social creatures after all and we feed off the energy from other people.
“Obviously not being able to seat guests at the bar is a major handicap as we are not able to use the bar as holding area for walk-in guests, relying exclusively on reservations alone. We have been scaling up our capacity in-line with government guidelines, but the real operational challenge has been to service the demand given the capacity restrictions.”
While for others Covid-19 has been a disaster, for Ghazal it has been a chance to get “back to basics”. With investments in its staff through online training and its leadership program, a “more purposeful and authentic service focusing on provenance and supporting local producers”, Ghazal believes that The Maine can rise to the challenge ahead.