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Welcome to a world of travel, entertainment and culture, curated from a global collective of writers, photojournalists and artists. Each article of our award-winning magazine is sure to inspire, no matter which of our destinations you call home.
 
 
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Nick and Scott

30 April 2017

Situated in the Madinat Jumeirah on the site of the old Rivington Bar and Grill, Folly is the new venture by Price and partners Nick Alvis and Viktorija Paplauskiene.

“If you want to make a restaurant successful you’ve got to believe in it,” says Scott Price, one half of culinary duo Nick and Scott. “Success for us is a full restaurant every night. It’s not about awards or accolades or anything like that. It’s about being busy and people having a good time. That’s a successful restaurant.”

It’s a week or so after the opening of Folly by Nick and Scott and Price is taking a well-earned break. He looks tired but remains chatty and convivial, considering the levels of stress he must be under. Then again, nobody said launching a restaurant would be easy.

Situated in the Madinat Jumeirah on the site of the old Rivington Bar and Grill, Folly is the new venture by Price and partners Nick Alvis and Viktorija Paplauskiene. It is all bars and terraces and stunning views. It is also an informal take on modern fine dining, with the recipe for its own success firmly in place: two of Dubai’s most respected chefs in one of the city’s greatest locations.

The duo previously re-launched Verre by Gordon Ramsay at the Hilton Dubai Creek to critical acclaim, then opened the award-winning Table 9 by Nick and Scott, and developed the Taste Kitchen brand in partnership with Albwardy Investment and Spinneys. Now they have returned to the restaurant business via a partnership with Gates Hospitality.

“We’ve waited a long time to do this so we want everything to be perfect,” says Price. “With Table 9 and Verre, we inherited a restaurant so we couldn’t do exactly what we wanted. It was never ours. This is our first baby and what you see now is pretty much what we wanted to do.

“Two years ago we had an idea and to see it come to life – from working on the design, the uniforms, the food, the plates, the menus and even the little boxes with the cutlery in – is hugely rewarding. We’ve picked everything – the floor colours, the leather, everything. Even the music is ours because music is one of the most important things for us.”

“Gates had the belief in us to say: ‘Go on, let’s see what you can do,’ so we need to make sure it’s right – because if we don’t make sure it’s right, nobody else is going to do it for us.”

For Price, ‘right’ means a relaxed vibe with great food and great music. The tables are closer together, there’s a soundtrack of soul and funk, and Paplauskiene has curated a wine list that places lesser-known biodynamic wines next to an array of more classic choices. There is also an eight-seat kitchen bar that allows diners the opportunity to experience the theatrical nature of a busy kitchen.

“We’ve been out of the restaurant game properly for a few years now so it’s nice to know that people are still interested in what we’re doing,” admits Price. “There is a lot of expectation we put on ourselves and there is also the expectation from people coming through the door because of our background and previous restaurants.”

That background is impressive. Alvis worked with Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s in London for three years before moving to Petrus, which was then overseen by Marcus Wareing and formed part of the opening team for Gordon Ramsay’s Au Trianon in Versailles, France. The latter went on to receive two Michelin stars within its first year of opening.

Price also worked for Ramsay in London, ending up as sous chef at Claridge’s and the three-Michelin-starred Royal Hospital Road before heading to Dubai in 2010 to relaunch Verre with Alvis, at Ramsay’s behest.

“Our background is fine dining so a lot is put into the process of sourcing ingredients and cooking to a very high standard,” says Price. “It’s the cooking standard of what you would expect in a fine dining restaurant but we’re doing it in a simple way. Generally the dishes have three or four ingredients and they’re very simple. It’s all about the taste and the flavour and getting things spot on, giving people the opportunity to try three, four or five dishes if they want to.”

Those dishes include smoked paprika monkfish cheeks, Omani shrimp with marjoram and lime gremolata and lamb saddle with whipped pine nuts and salsa, with the team sourcing as much local produce as they possibly can.

“If you make an effort to go out and find it, you can,” says Price. “We had guys here this morning who are growing cresses in a warehouse in Al Quoz. It’s brilliant. Five years ago that was unheard of. The guy had been growing in England for years and was a fifth generation seed-grower. It’s nice to have people like that over here with real experience and passion for doing what they do.”

Alvis, who until now has been buried by work in another part of the restaurant, makes a brief appearance. He too looks tired but cheerful. “You see a lot of things coming and going,” he says. “We want something consistent, we want to be here, we want to be proud to be here, to taste every dish that goes out into the restaurant, to see everything and to make sure the guys are in tune with what we’re trying to do.”

Price laughs. “You know, we got Table 9 up to really high standards and I think the only night Nick took off in four years was when I got married in Italy and he flew over for the wedding and missed one night of service. Out of four years that was the only night that one of us wasn’t there and I had to put a gun to his head to do that.”

Such dedication and professionalism has paid off handsomely in the past and shows all the signs of doing so again. Michel Roux, the godfather of Michelin fare, has already eaten at Folly, as has Gary Rhodes, while pre-bookings are looking good.

“We have to deliver,” says Price. “Table 9 was for us what we wanted to do at that time and this is what we want to do now. We looked at the market a lot. We could have done an all-British diner or something like that but we wanted to do what we want to do – for people to come for the food, for the drinks, for the music, for the service and because it’s a great place to go. That’s it really. We just want people to have a good time.”

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE

Scott Price's Dubai favourites...

Elia
Tucked away at the top of the Majestic Hotel in Bur Dubai is a Greek restaurant called Elia. It’s charming with whitewashed walls and great, traditional Greek food.

Al Qudra Cycle Track
When I get time, I like to go cycling on Al Qudra cycle track. It’s more than 120km long and very peaceful. It’s an ideal place to clear your head after work.

Unseen Trails Tour
The sunrise Unseen Trails tour set in Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve offers a fantastic and sustainable take on the traditional desert safari.

Baker and Spice
I’ve been a fan of Baker and Spice for a long time now. Their dedication to sourcing local, organic produce is really impressive.

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