Another Aussie restaurateur to open in Dubai

Scott Bolles

Bali, New York and mainland China are sizzling growth markets for Australian restaurateurs; now add Dubai to the list.

Toko Group owner Matthew Yazbek says Dubai is set to get a taste of his signature Surry Hills restaurant, with Toko Dubai opening in December. He says that while Dubai is a popular market for European and North American restaurant groups, Australian restaurateurs have been slower to seize the opportunity. The restaurant is opening at the Vida hotel in downtown Dubai.

''It's the old part of town, and the hotel is one of the only places where they can sell alcohol on the ground floor,'' Yazbek says.

''There is Japanese food over there, but not the way we do it. We really want to emphasise the Australian connection, with lots of Australian produce on the menu.''

Yazbek - who recently bought brother Al Yazbek out of the Toko Group - is now on the expansion trail, eyeing sites in the Sydney city centre and interstate. He's been at it a while: the recently refurbished original Toko in Paddington is set to chalk up 14 years.