Bahrain Confidential caught up with Sushmita Donlon, the beauty and brain behind Bahrain’s newest gastronomic adventure, Phoenix Eatery & Shisha Lounge.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I grew up in India, obtained my MSc (Hons) degree from the UK and moved to Bahrain five years ago to enhance my professional career by gaining some international experience. I have been fortunate enough to spend large parts of my life on three continents. Primarily, my professional background is real estate and construction orientated, but I recently bought a new direction in life and decided to move into the food and beverage industry.
What motivated you to open Phoenix?
Phoenix Eatery & Shisha Lounge was born out of the combination of two things; the discovery of an incredibly unique property and recognizing a gap in the market for a high-end shisha establishment. The restaurant is located directly on the seafront with uninterrupted views of Muharraq, Dilmunia and Amwaj Island and is perfect for plane spotting fanatics! Quality food and good service can be found in many restaurants, but what makes Phoenix so unique is the restaurants’ attention to detail and unrivalled setting. As a shisha lover myself I have always struggled to find a five-star venue to enjoy shisha so when the opportunity came up to start something of my own, I had absolutely no hesitation.
What was the vision behind this?
My vision was to establish a unique brand that emphasizes the beauty of combining both contemporary and traditional taste and culture. I wanted to create a brand which has depth and meaning so the team thought long and hard about the concept. A Phoenix in Greek mythology was a bird that could live for a long time and could also be regenerated or reborn from the ashes of its predecessor, so the Phoenix’s strong association with fire and longevity are traits and facets which are also associated with the restaurant.
What is the concept behind the logo?
The logo is essentially an icon that is based on the head of the Phoenix and the triangle shape which represents fire. Together the logo highlights the passion of the burning Phoenix in a modern, but minimalistic way.
The number of restaurants and lounges in Bahrain has increased over the years, what do you think makes Phoenix special?
We have 8 VIP rooms with private balconies overlooking the sea, a two-story water feature, two large outside screens for live sports and a fusion of contemporary and traditional décor providing the perfect setting for our valued guests. Where in Bahrain can you watch the aeroplane’s land, the sun-set and the sea glisten whilst enjoying top quality food, fresh juices and shisha?
What’s next for Phoenix?
Obviously, it is still very early days so before thinking about future outlets we are determined to make this restaurant a successful one. A huge amount of effort has gone into creating this unique concept so we are very keen to ensure our standards are perfected and maintained first. We would love to explore opening another Phoenix in the future, but the location is absolutely critical and finding one which matches this is a huge challenge. A phoenix is a long-lived bird and this ethos is echoed in our restaurant, we are in it for the long-haul and determined to be a success.
How do you cope with the demands of being a new mum and an entrepreneur in the same year?
2017 has been a great year so far. My daughter was born in April and the restaurant launch is in December so it’s been hectic to say the least. Thankfully I have a great team at Phoenix which means I am able to find the right balance between being a mother and running the restaurant. Its tiring and challenging at times, but very rewarding.
What is your key to success?
We pride ourselves on providing a unique venue which offers quality food, excellent service and an exceptional experience. I’ve always believed that if you do things a bit different and slightly better you have the chance to succeed and that is what we strive to achieve.
From the ashes, a new taste rises. Phoenix is a modern restaurant and shisha lounge, located on the beautiful shores of the Investment Gateway Island in Hidd, that serves both international and local cuisine in a very stylish contemporary/traditional setting. The restaurant and lounge capture the mystique myth and charm of the Phoenix with its contemporary arabesque aesthetic and feel.
For more information:
Tel. +973 33 777 811