Caramel Group, a Dubai-based hospitality company, has announced the opening of the ‘Caramel Restaurant & Lounge – Nairobi’, a venue located in the Kenyan capital’s upmarket ABC Place shopping centre and representing the group’s first venture outside of the UAE.

A self-styled ‘casual fine dining’ concept, the Caramel concept claims to echo the fun-loving ‘sophistication and charm’ of the club ‘Caramel’ Las Vegas – part of the ‘Light Group’ that was 50%-purchased by Mohammed Al Hashimi, head of Zabeel Investments, and Caramel founder, in 2008.

Since the restaurant brand’s 2009 launch within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a second venue has opened at Abu Dhabi’s St. Regis Saadiyat Island Hotel Resort, the UAE capital’s $27bn cultural district, as well as MO’s, a family-oriented concept at Dubai’s Citywalk.

Al Hashimi noted: “We are in the advanced stages of our expansion strategy, and our long-term growth strategy will allow us to be on the constant look out for new locations around the world.”

Jimm Moaddab, COO, further attributed the ‘cosmopolitan nature of the population’ and ‘the potential growth opportunities for a brand like ours’ as the key motives behind Nairobi’s selection as Caramel’s first overseas destination.

“We are aware of the current climate and the safety of our team and clientele will always be in the forefront. At the same time, every country has and faces unrest in their own way,” he added.

Dubai’s Caramel has also successfully attracted several international socialites, and if Nairobi can attract a similar degree of custom among Kenya’s celebrity elite then it will likely prove a success.

At the very least, the opening recognises the potential of Africa’s markets, and success in Nairobi will position the group to capitalise on further business opportunities across Eastern Africa.