Here’s how we combined Hunter’s rustic roots with Arab opulence to create this standout steak restaurant at Yas Bay Waterfront.
As you devour a menu inspired by the Australian outback at our latest Hunter & Barrel
restaurant at Yas Bay, Abu Dhabi, you are surrounded by a décor that makes sense nowhere but the Middle East.
An all-encompassing backlit golden scale wall wrapping the entire venue, intricate carpet
tapestries and handwoven fishing nets in bold coral reef colours are just some of the head-
turning interpretations that have made Abu Dhabi’s best steakhouse the perfect mix of
rustic roots and Arab opulence.
We’ll hand over to Callie van der Merwe from our design team to explain the passion
project she hopes UAE diners spend “far longer than they intended.”
What sparked your love affair with interior design?
I started my life as an architect, too many years ago to mention. But something within the
daily life, constant meetings and suits and ties of this profession did not sit 100%
comfortably in my belly. One day, I got a call one day from a friend who wanted to develop a
very unusual night club. A favour turned into a love affair with interior design, and sooner
than I could imagine a really successful business had grown.
What was on your mood board for Hunter & Barrel at Yas Bay?
We looked at all the traditions, culture, moments of pride and experiences only possible in
the Middle East. We framed traditional hunting, fishing and falconry as events and pastimes stitched into Arab and Emirati life for centuries; skills that were once needed for survival, that have progressed into social activities. We told this story with carpet tapestries on the walls, a large backlit golden scale wall that wraps the entire venue, and interpreted
handwoven fishing nets in bold coral reef-inspired colours.
How would you describe the aesthetic, and how does it differ from other restaurants?
It’s definitely bold, unusual and specific in its identity. All surfaces are expressed as puzzle
pieces or chapters to the total act of story-telling. The narrative is very specific to the Middle East, and unique to this restaurant. It would definitely be out of place anywhere else.
What do you hope diners at Hunter & Barrel Yas Bay take from their experience?
It’s always great to see that people love spending time in a space. The marker is always
when they stay far longer than they intended, and the chatter gets louder as the evening
passes. We live in a society where there has never been such an abundance of food. We
know that whilst the food is critical, it’s the social nature of it that increases bonding, and
sparks feelings of community, wellbeing and joy.