Hospitality company SBE is opening its first Middle Eastern Cleo Mediterráneo restaurant in partnership with M.H. Alshaya Co.

The Mediterranean culinary chain, a concept from chef Danny Elmaleh, will be located at The Avenues in Kuwait City, the eighth global location and the first of five Cleo restaurants expected to open in the Middle East, with the second restaurant planned for 2019.

SBE founder and CEO Sam Nazarian said: “Following the incredible success of Cleo’s expansion in the United States and The Bahamas in 2017, we’re delighted that our eighth location of the social dining brand will be our first in the region.

“The award-winning M.H. Alshaya Co. has been a strategic partner of ours since 2010, supporting the growth of our Katsuya brand. The Middle East is a significant part of SBE’s growth strategy and we’re thrilled to work with leading partners in the region to help us expand our culinary footprint to some of the most exciting cities in Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, and more.”

The Avenues location features 168 seats and will feature contemporary Mediterranean cuisine with a local flavour, including babaganoush, crispy artichoke hummus and Taboon bread.

The Kuwait opening follows the first international Cleo restaurant at SLS Baha Mar in the Bahamas in 2017 as well as further openings in Los Angeles and New York.

SBE is close to announcing a partnership in UAE for Umami Burger, its premium burger brand, with plans to launch Umami in Qatar and Bahrain.