Hybrid taste

The Middle East’s first supperclub opens in Dubai, fusing fine dining, dramatic performances and everything in between

Stepping into the newly completed supperclub in Dubai’s Zabeel Saray on the Palm Jumeirah is equivalent to stepping into an intricate daydream. The much layered space takes one on a transitional journey, each time revealing a new experience.

Dubai is the first in the Middle East to open supperclub, a new eatery that’s already made its mark in cities like Amsterdam and London. Favoured by high-end clientele that share a love for chic dining combined with performance art, supperclub’s upscale character bodes well for Dubai’s market, making the emirate the perfect environment to start.

In an interview with Hotelier Middle East magazine, supperclub Dubai’s general manager Richard Drake explains that the city “has a burgeoning art scene which provides a platform for artistic expression very much in line with the original supperclub concept—footed in food with artistic, choreographed entertainment…all designed to stimulate the senses.”

There is no doubting Dubai’s already vibrant restaurant portfolio, yet Drake believes that the addition of supperclub will only make the list brighter. “While there is an array of incredible restaurants,” he admits, “the demands of Dubai’s society are changing and the supperclub partners saw a clear trend in the market for restaurants that aren’t controlled by chains.”

The fine dining destination that took seven months to complete is designed by Amsterdam-based studio Concrete Architectural Associates; the masterminds behind the original supperclub located in the firm’s hometown in The Netherlands.

“The brief was quite simple,” says Rob Wagemans, founder and creative director, Concrete Architectural Associates, who goes on to explain that the bigger question was “what would happen to supperclub if it entered the Dubai market?”

Wagemans explains that issues such as cultural sensitivities and Dubai’s demand for luxurious hospitality needed to be integrated within the design. “We tried to use all these ingredients to make this the best supperclub ever made,” he adds.

Adapting to local culture meant changing certain features of the signature supperclub brand. On adhering to social norms and customs, Wagemans, using seating as an example, explains that in a typical supperclub, everybody eats on bed-like seats, taking off their shoes for full relaxation.

“But taking your shoes off [in a restaurant] is a difficult thing in the Arabic culture so we had to find solutions for that,” he clarifies.

He also adds that the original supperclub in Amsterdam is located in a truly urban environment; however, Dubai’s location allowed for an opportunity to attract clients with upscale tastes. “The level of hospitality, services and food has undergone a significant upgrade as part of the concept for Dubai,” says Wagemans.

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