If there’s one thing Grazia loves more than a good gossip, it is having said gossip in an Instagrammable, beach-front venue while prodding at freshly made sushi rolls with chopsticks.
That said, there’s no shortage of these marvellous venues in our vibrant city, so what makes Street by Gossip the current unmissable hotspot in La Mer? Put simply, it connects with locals, expats and toursits in equal measures – a very unique achievement, it has to be said. “I wanted to create a venue that is Emirati at its heart and is influenced by Emirati culture, habits and experiential services. But something that is also urban, edgy and vibrant,” founder Shayma Fawaz tells Grazia over delicious salmon bao buns at the beach venue.
“I am UAE born and bred, and growing up I saw a gap in the market for an Emirati company that could be turned into a global franchise. I could never understand why businessmen and women didn’t look closer to home when it came to investing,” Shayma continues. “After school I studied in the United States, but afterwards I decided I wanted to come back to the UAE and support our own economy.” Inspiring stuff.
The ridiculously cool venue – boasting neon signs and low-lit lighting – made the obvious choice for Grazia to join forces with worldwide shoe retailer Aldo and host a Suhoor during Ramadan earlier this year. But just why did the entrepreneur want a fashion-focused restaurant? “Fashion takes many forms, and I believe that style can be expressed in so many ways, not just by what we wear, but by how we eat and where we spend our time,” Shayma muses. “I have always had an interest in fashion and beauty and fusing that passion with my other passion of good food is how Gossip was started.”
As we tuck into a selection of mouth-watering seafood sushi rolls, we quiz Shayma on the background of the menu. “It’s a modern mix of fusion-style street food with Asian and Emirati influences,” she begins. “We only use the finest and freshest ingredients to enable us to deliver authentic sharing street food experience. Items on the menu combine local and international tastes in very unique ways, many tastes will be unlike anything people have tried before,” she adds.
Despite Shayma’s clear passion for food and fashion, her incredibly polished image does not escape Grazia’s attention. And it comes as no surprise when the businesswoman reveals she has also recently launched an on-demand beauty service called GLO. “It helps busy women and men get that perfect hairstyle or on-trend make-up look from a professional, all with a touch of a button, and without leaving the house. GLO offers a complete makeover within one hour with four specialists working across hair, make-up and nails to get users glam in record time,” Shayma says proudly.
What’s next for the lifestyle brand? “Continuing our mission to go global,” Shayma replies casually. “Our aim is to spread Emirati influences worldwide and show the world the beauty eminent in the UAE’s culture, palette and lifestyle.” Challenge accepted.