Home' Spice Magazine : SPICE AUG 2016 Contents Who started the business?
The business started back in 1994 when I
opened my first restaurant, Atlantic, in St
Kilda at the age of 21.
In 1998, I realised there was a gap in
the market place for function spaces
seating more than 500 guests. Atlantic
Group was created when we converted the
abandoned South Wharf sheds into two
premium event spaces before a compulsory
acquisition in 2006 which led us to secure
our new home at Central Pier, Docklands.
It was here that the business began its
transformation into a hybrid of hospital-
ity offerings and has since grown from
strength to strength.
What services do you
offer and to whom?
As a hospitality company we offer our
customers all facets of the industry. We
are innovators of world-class events and
hospitality experiences in Melbourne,
with our expertise spanning across events,
catering, restaurants, bar ambience and
In addition to our venues, bars, clubs and
eateries we have an external catering arm
to our business that delivers our culinary
expertise and services to the location of our
client’s choice. We can cater anything from
boutique parties and intimate boardroom
lunches, through to extravagant weddings
and product launches. We have an exciting
new announcement is coming soon so
watch this space.
What are some of the
biggest challenges you have
faced in the business?
To date, the State Government’s com-
pulsory acquisition of South Wharf has
definitely been my biggest challenge. We
were fortunate when we secured Central
Pier, Docklands and we were able to relo-
cate our clients and employees to the new
location to start over.
Turning Central Pier from abandoned
sheds into a five star function destination
wasn’t without its challenges. We had to
ensure that we maintained the image,
reputation and momentum of the business
while overseeing a 4,500 square metre
construction site on a heritage listed Pier.
The lack of partitions in the ceiling and
building over water certainly made for a
Fortunately our clientele, many of whom
still interact with the business today, were
confident in our vision and were happy to
come on the journey with us. Our foresight
and vision to look at a situation and see
potential where others see nothing has
been a defining feature of our business from
the start and has allowed us to continue to
thrive in an ever changing industry.
What was been the biggest
event you’ve worked on?
It would have to be Melbourne’s two
leading major events the Melbourne Cup
Carnival and the Formula One Australian
Grand Prix. Both large in scale, scope and
logistics. We cater for over 15,000 people at
Due to the hard work of our team, their
expertise and their unwavering dedication
to providing a highly personalised experi-
ence to a large number of guests over con-
secutive days, we have continued to grow
our portfolio at both of these iconic events.
What are the big trends
in your industry?
The biggest trend in the last few years
has been the ever-changing ingredient
or flavour of the moment and its ability
to influence entire menus or inspire the
direction of new establishments.
These key flavours and ingredients
become the ‘must try’ of Melbourne, in
as many different forms and in as many
different combinations as possible. It is the
rise of reality TV and influential social me-
dia personalities that have driven this cul-
ture, informed and have inspired people to
try new things and experiment with their
choices of cuisine. Now clients, curious to
try new and trending flavours, present our
very talented team with the opportunity
to exceed the expectation already set by
countless restaurants and caterers across
Melbourne. We are all about finding the
next big flavour that will wow our clients
What do you love
about the industry?
The dynamic and social nature of how each
day is different and anything is possible.
My day consists of walking into our Mill
and Bakery nice and early to the smell
of freshly baked bread and the bustling
workers popping in for their morning
coffee. Venturing further down the pier
into our new Middle Eastern canteen, I’m
greeted by my mother, Sabah, and our
family friend Tatiana. They will be chatting
and working away on some of their au-
thentic recipes that feature on our menu.
In the neighbouring Shed 14, I greet our
chefs and kitchen team as they prepare
for our weekly functions, from lavish
boutique weddings to 1000 person corpo-
rate dinners. I finish my day with a quick
hello to diners and VIP clients who are
enjoying dinner at The Atlantic restaurant.
Between meetings, emails and phone calls
I am always on the look-out for the next
opportunity to create a great and unique
space or build a new venue.
This industry is truly 24/7 so you really
need to enjoy it to thrive.
Where do you see your business
going in the next five years?
In the last six months we have opened up
two new eateries in Melbourne and, in
October, we will see the opening of our
first overseas licenced venture, The Atlantic
Dubai in the prestigious Souk Al Bahar,
which looks out to the Dubai fountains
and the tallest building in the world the
With an international launch on the
way and many more plans in the pipeline
I would advise to watch this space, we are
always on the look-out for the next oppor-
tunity. Our growth is about strategy, edge
and giving back to the community. We are
always on the look out to create the next
If you could tell clients one
thing, what would it be?
Don’t just do what you did last year or
replicate an experience you have already
been a part of. Create an experience that
is unique, that your guests will remember
and that you are proud to put your name
we will see the
opening of our
Dubai in the
Souk Al Bahar.
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