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Lebua Sets Europe Expansion

Deepak Ohri may not have invented rooftop dining, but his launch of Sirocco (below) in December 2003 certainly popularized the concept and served as the inspiration for multiple followers across Asia, Europe and the Americas. It is arguably the first outdoor fine dining restaurant, and pictures of its eponymous stand-up bar floating over the Thai capital are so popular, Google has over 40,000 results for the query. While the Lebua hotel group came after the restaurant, and now includes properties in India, Thailand and New Zealand, it will be food that again leads the expansion.

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Breeze will bring its modern take on Asian haute cuisine served in a sexy ambiance to the Frankfurter Hof in April. Speaking during the International Luxury Travel Mart in Cannes, the group CEO said outposts in Berlin, Cologne, Zurich, and Monte Carlo are in the works over the next two years.

“We showed that fine dining could be fun dining,” Ohri said. To that end he is re-launching Mezzaluna, perched on the 65th floor of State Tower in Bangkok. He is cutting seating from 50 to 30, making for an intimate environment that will enable guests to watch chefs prepare their meals and have personal interaction during the dinner.

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Ohri hints hotels will also be coming in Europe as well. “We started with the restaurant before the hotel,” he notes. He says Germany’s growing population of High Net Worth consumers are looking for different and fun dining experiences where food is still at a gourmet level. The restaurants will also serve to promote the company’s hotels.

The Thailand property was popularized in the movie The Hangover Two, and Ohri says to expect the flagship to again be seen on the big screen in a yet to be finalized movie project.