Get to know Dubai restaurant Cle's Chef Greg Malouf
Name: Greg Malouf Nationality: Australian Age: 55
How long have you lived in Dubai? A little under two years
Where do you like to hang out in Dubai when you’re not at work? I dedicate my downtime to the arts and music. I love to visit galleries and discover places that are not part of mainstream Dubai. I also enjoy cooking with friends in my small apartment.
What’s your top tip for visitors to Dubai? A 40-minute drive from the Dubai international financial district will see you 4-wheel drive surfing on desert dunes. It’s a workout in itself, and normally I hate to work out! A one-hour desert safari is especially breathtaking at twilight.
What one thing would you like to do in Dubai that you haven’t done before? I would like to be invited to share dinner in a traditional Emirati home.
How would you describe Dubai to people who haven’t visited? ‘Ambitious’ is the best way to describe Dubai UAE and it’s definitely an understatement! Dubai has emerged as a leading regional commercial hub with state-of-the art infrastructure and a world class business environment however when it comes to hospitality and contemporary middle eastern cuisine there is still a lot to be discovered, and hopefully here is where my talents can come to use.
What career journey did you take before Cle? With seven award-winning food and travel books to my name, my food reflects a deep connection with my heritage as well as inspiration from my extensive travels around the Middle East. During my time as the Executive Chef at MoMo restaurant Melbourne, the authoritative Age Good Food Guide awarded me "two hats" for my unique style of presenting contemporary Middle Eastern cuisine. In 2011, I was honored as Ambassador by The American University in Beirut at their inaugural awards ceremony for achievements in promoting Lebanese cuisine around the world. In 2012, I took over the kitchen at the iconic Petersham Nurseries Café in Richmond, UK. By the end of the year, the restaurant earned a Michelin Star under my guidance. I'm proud to have the reputation as one of the creators of a new style of cooking known as 'Modern Middle Eastern', which has changed forever the perception of Middle Eastern food in the West. Now I am settled in Dubai with my team and we strive to provide a matchless dining experience, always to my own exacting standards.
Why should Time Out readers try Cle? Clé Dubai unlocks the experience of contemporary Middle Eastern cuisine as well as a journey of discovery through the space itself, where the mood of approachable luxury is tempered by exquisite detailing. It is a journey of the senses through revolving displays of art and sculpture; music and live performance; and its maze-like corners and intriguing sections that can be readily shaped to the needs of the guests from formal dining. The creativity and skill of chefs in our kitchen is something I am especially proud of. Middle Eastern ingredients are now being used in exciting ways and we want to bring this charm to the table, whether it’s a splash of pomegranate molasses, a sprinkling of sumac or za’atar of the salty-sour tang of preserved lemons. Even better, the availability of this produce in supermarkets means that everyone can start experimenting with Middle Eastern flavours. It is up to the readers to decide would they like to be a part of our cooking classes or maybe come in for dining, or maybe cocktail on our magnificent terrace is more there scene. Whatever you decide we promise you won’t be disappointed.
What’s the best thing about dining at Cle? Generosity is one of the most important aspects of Middle Eastern cooking, so we make sure our dishes are elegant and in abundance! Also we try and source wonderful seasonal produce that can be found or delivered to us from all parts of the world.
What’s your dish recommendation at Cle? Whole fillet of wild sea bass tarator style with soft herbs, sumac & walnuts is my interpretation of a traditional Lebanese dish and is fantastic for a dinner party or buffet spread. It looks very impressive and tastes delicious.