After a successful Michelin-starred turn at London's Petersham Nurseries and with his glitzy outing at Clé Dubai coming to an end, globetrotting Melbourne expat Greg Malouf is eyeing off his next move – and this time he has London, Singapore and Beirut on his radar.
"It's been wonderful and [the time in Dubai] has reassured me that I'm on the right track, career-wise," the chef says of his two-year tenure at Clé Dubai.
So what's next? "I'm casting a pretty broad net at the moment," says Malouf, who plans to remain in Dubai. He's looking at several concepts – one in London, another in his ancestral Lebanon and a third in Singapore, each very different.
Due to its close proximity to Dubai, Malouf has spent considerable time in Beirut over the past two years.
"I'd really love to do something there," he says. "The produce is pretty special and the Beirutis are great diners – they love to be social, to connect with family and friends, and they're happy to spend money on something that's good quality."
The concept? "We're thinking courtyard restaurant, traditional Lebanese food but using beautiful seasonal, regional produce. I don't want to do too much to it. I just want to slowly introduce new ideas to them."
The London idea will be "accessible, mid-range Middle Eastern – not pitched to the high end at all".
He sees a big gap in London for innovative mid-range offerings, "something that Australia does so beautifully".
Malouf will be spending some time in Melbourne in the next few months to help with the family business, Carlton's long-running Zum Zum, as it undergoes some changes in the coming year.
Book number eight ("possibly a travel book") is also on the cards, with Malouf once again teaming up with ex-wife Lucy Malouf for a predicted 2017 release.
Cle Dubai, Al Fattan Currency House, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, cle-dubai.com