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One is a sportswear major, the other an iconic Dubai restaurant with roots in Pakistan. The above is a sneaker preview of what's in store — a fusion of brands and cultures, where the West meets South Asian in Dubai.
We're talking about the limited edition of a shoe named Superstar Ravi crafted by adidas, with the logo, colours and dishes of Ravi Restaurant that will go on sale on Thursday. For sneakerheads and foodies, it will be a moment to savour, and stores all over the city are expected to see a rush of customers on the day of the sale.
As the excitement mounts, we pay a visit to the restaurant that serves some classic and affordable Pakistani cuisine and leaves us wanting for more.
Patrons seem to be enjoying the spotlight while digging into the delights the restaurant serves ranging from its trademark mutton Peshawari to chicken tikka and dal fry. This is business as usual at Ravi's, a restaurant that's steeped in nostalgia and that's putting its best food forward.
“This means a lot to me and my family who have worked very hard for close to 50 years to establish the restaurant of our dreams and to now see it being recognised as a brand,” said Ravi Choudary Abdul Hamed, who founded the Pakistani diner in 1978.
“We are humble people; we just wanted to offer good food. That was the foundation on which Ravi was built. Thankfully, people from all over the world like the food we make here and the credit goes to our cooks, our management and our staff.
“This partnership with an international brand like adidas that is worn by millions around the world will help us to cement our legacy in this beautiful country that we call our home,” added the distinguished Hamed, now a content man at the age of 76.
“Since the time we founded Ravi in the seventies, the world has changed dramatically. But the food we serve has not. Good, well-prepared food has the ability to endure through generations. Just like adidas has.
“So it is not just a privilege and an honour to pair with a giant like adidas but it also gives us immense satisfaction and is, in a way, a reward for the Ravi family, our patrons and the Rulers of Dubai who have embraced our culture and cuisine.
“We are very proud that six of our signature dishes are featured on every limited-edition sneaker.
“Our first input was selecting the Superstar Sneaker, an iconic adidas silhouette, for the collaborative footwear. We shared our vision at Ravi with the global adidas design to help bring the sneaker to life.
“We believe that our story is prevalent through the sneaker, and we’re absolutely delighted with the end result.”
Food and nostalgia go hand in hand. Everybody remembers the delicious dinners their mothers cooked each night. It’s a memory that stays forever.
Ravi does that. It is by no means a restaurant that blows you away by its culinary offerings, ambience or majesty. It overwhelms you with nostalgia.
You can sense the history and heritage from the very walls in the small but cosy eatery that has hosted royalty, celebrities and blue-collar workers alike through the years.
Food has the ability to connect with communities and Ravi has the ability to share the message behind the painted walls of Dubai’s cultural melting pot with every guest.
It’s unassuming, yet a major player in the Dubai timeline, having come into existence even before the first skyscraper was built in the Emirate.
Nothing has changed at Ravi since its inception. While the food is the same, so are the walls, the chairs, the décor, the courteous service, the experience, and the lifestyle that it represents. It reflects the culture of inner-city Dubai and its infectious appeal.
Hanif, who has worked at Ravi, first as a waiter over 30 years ago and now as a cashier, says nothing could replace the joy and satisfaction that he gets from working at the diner.
“This is my home, this is where I belong, This is where I will always belong. I look at the eyes of the guests each day and try to understand their emotions. I have learnt a lot through this.”
Syed Salim from Chennai in India, has been dining at Ravi for over 40 years and brings friends and business partners to share his dining experience, which he says is always amazing.
“The consistency and standard of the food have remained the same for as long as I can remember. In fact, it takes me back in time every time I eat at Ravi. The tandoori chicken tikka is easily their signature dish and what everybody comes here to eat, I must have eaten hundreds by now and still crave for more.”
Emily Smith said she heard about the joys of Ravi even before she moved to Dubai from Cambridge in England.
“When friends heard that I was going to live in Dubai, they told me about this lovely little restaurant and said that I must try it out. I did the very first week that I was here, which was over 15 years ago, and here I am again enjoying myself with the spicy chicken, dals and rotis."
Adidas hailed the partnership with the iconic restaurant that has its headquarters in Satwa, and said in a statement: “This unique collaboration represents the ability of food to be able to transcend physical borders and create cultural bonds, metaphorically transporting us to somewhere new or a taste of home for many of the diasporic communities found in adidas key cities.
“We are so excited to launch the Superstar Ravi in celebration of an establishment that holds profound significance to the fabric of Dubai's community,” said Vicki Fitzsimons, Brand Senior Director, adidas MENA
“Dubai is one of the first to launch its city collaboration as part of the 'adilicious' series that showcases 11 cities and restaurants globally. We look forward to seeing what’s in store across the other markets.”
Covering 11 restaurants in 11 cities, the series presents 11 culinary-inspired silhouettes, all driven by the mantra – authentic food, real people, fresh sneakers.
The shoes are expected to cost Dh550 and can also be bought online from levelshoes.com, adidas.ae and lesbenjamins.ae. They will also be sold at the following stores:
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