-The Esquire 100 - Colin Clague
With so many established restaurants opening outposts in Dubai, Rüya is a welcome breath of fresh air.
The goals of the much vaunted Executive chef Colin Clague was not only to elevate the level of Anatolian cuisine to a gourmet level, but also to create a restaurant brand locally that is strong enough to be exported.
While originally from the Isle of Man, Clague’s reputation in the feisty Dubai restaurant scene is stellar, thanks to successful stints as executive chef of award-winning Japanese restaurant Zuma, taking charge of the launch of The Ivy at Jumeirah Emirates Towers and, of course, Rüya — who achieved both his goals thanks to the opening of Rüya London earlier this year.
Why visit Rüya?
Because Turkish cuisines really deserve to be up there with the likes of French, Italian and Japanese. Yes, when most people think of Turkish food they only think ‘doner kebab’ but it’s everything other than that.
The expansion to London is big news. Why do it?
My partners really want to spread the word about Anatolian cuisine, and after the success in Dubai we wanted to make it more accessible. One of the interesting things about our food, is that it appeals to lots of different types of diners. We have tonnes of gluten-free options, there’s loads of options for vegetarians, pescatarians, so there is something for everyone. And that’s not just because of food trends, it’s because of the actual cuisine itself.
And if London is successful?
When we started in Dubai it was never going to be a single entity. The infrastructure is in place for us to expand globally. We are already looking at going back to Turkey, and then after that – if everyone still loves our food – we will opening up in more cities.