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Home    Nozomi, knowing you     Details
 
Nozomi, knowing you
06/01/2010

It’s one of the greatest restaurants in London, redefining the eatery/nightclub boundary, and now Nozomi is making its debut in Dubai. Owner Marios George tells us more

Think of the trendiest nightclub you know. It may be in town or further afield in London, New York or Paris perhaps? Now do the same with the most chic restaurant.

Picture the crowd that frequent both, the fine décor, the excellent service and superior atmosphere. Now put those images together and you’re probably imagining something along the lines of Nozomi, the newest dining out/entertainment innovation to hit Dubai.

Established in London almost four years ago, the restaurant quickly went on to win the prestigious London Club & Bar award for Best Restaurant and has been nominated in the same category ever since. Serving up uber-hip Japanese cuisine in a club-like environment, Nozomi has been said to have left its closest competitor Zuma in the shade with its rapid ascent in the cut-throat London food scene. Patronised by the hottest celebs on earth, most recently the stunning Rihanna, Nozomi is definitely one to look out for when it opens to the public at the Habtoor Grand from December 9 onwards. So who better to tell us more than the co-founder of this brilliant place Marios George.

Marios, now all the construction is finished, how happy are you with the results of Nozomi here in Dubai?

We used a designer called Martin Brudnizki. He was a pupil of David Collins. And with this Nozomi I think it’s a case of the pupil overtaking the master. What we said to Martin is to come and have a look at Nozomi London, which is a five-year old design, and take all the ingredients and reshuffle them. I don’t believe in the idea that because you’re a franchise you should just copy everything. So he took the essentials and reinterpreted the place. In Dubai we’re on one level and a terrace and I think he’s done a superb job. It’s absolutely beautiful.

What made you come over to Dubai in the first place?

I’m just fascinated by the emergence of Dubai. I was invited to Abu Dhabi two years ago to a friend’s club at the Emirates Palace. From there we drove down to Dubai because we had heard about it but never seen it. From the minute I arrived I knew it was just one of those places I had to be. I know a lot of people from the Emirates because they use Nozomi a lot when they are in London and so know the tastes of Emirati clientele. People here are very stylish and only want the best. I knew from seeing the city that the brand could work here. The only question was who to partner with and quite quickly the Habtoor family stood out as great associates.

In terms of the menu and atmosphere, are you going to try and bring exactly what you would find in London?

The music policy that we use will be the same. The food is about 95 per cent the same as the UK but for some dishes we’ve taken into account local tastes and local produce. On the whole it’s the same menu. In order to make the experience complete, the senior staff that have been recruited for Dubai either work or at some point have worked for us. The head chef, head barman, DJ and restaurant manager among others will know how we work and how we do business. I’ll also be there for the first two weeks to make sure everything is as close to the model that we know works in England.

Can you talk us through the experience of going to Nozomi? What can people expect?

You can eat at the restaurant or there is a bar that will seat 40 to 50 people. As a crush bar those numbers are doubled. The actual restaurant proper, including the terrace and private dining rooms, will seat close to 200 people. The music that is played at Nozomi is a collection of world house music. We keep it 20 per cent quieter than a nightclub but a heck of a lot louder than a restaurant. The idea is that it’s not just a dining experience it is a night out.

Would you say that’s the unique aspect of Nozomi?

In London we are unique. People who have opened after us have actually copied us in some places. Some have bigger bars than us; some play the music louder but the actual concept where like-minded, well-dressed, fairly affluent people can meet will always be ours. In Dubai, Zuma will be our most similar competitor but where we differ is that music will be played across the entire restaurant. We take music very seriously. It builds in tempo and volume. We will never compete with a nightclub but what I always say is that we will take you up to the point where you’re really ready to go to a nightclub.

If you weren’t involved in the project why would you come to Nozomi?

The food is first-class. It is highly acclaimed modern Japanese cuisine and it is in the greatest surroundings with the best music. It is a fusion of a club and restaurant and a great experience.

Nozomi will open on December 9 at the Habtoor Grand, Dubai Marina

 

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