ASTANA – World-known South African seafood restaurant chain Ocean Basket (OB) opened in Astana Sept. 23 and the management is claiming every seafood lover should pay a visit for delicious otherworldly treats.
“The restaurant is distinguished by high-quality, fresh seafood. Besides, we are going to offer meals, which have never been offered in Kazakhstan before, even the sushi is unique,” the restaurant’s public relations service told local media. “The kitchen is fully supervised by our colleagues from South Africa. This restaurant chain was established by two brothers from Greece – migrants to South Africa in 1995. The network has grown since then.”
According to OB General Manager in Kazakhstan Grigoriy Berdnikov, Astana’s 160-seat restaurant is only the first in their plans.
“We are planning to expand our brand in Kazakhstan and will soon open [a restaurant] in Almaty. The uniqueness of the restaurant is that there are seafood dishes that are cooked only at the Ocean Basket restaurant chain, for example, the special process for preparing sushi at OB restaurants has been introduced by sushi champion of the world Pepi Anevski,” Berdnikov said.
The restaurant is located at 7 Saraishyk Street on the left bank, a five-minute walk from the Baiterek and the Diplomat Hotel – across from the Diplomatic Town. The average bill at the restaurant per customer is about 6,000 tenge (US$18). The famous fish and chips combo for instance is about 2,000 tenge or $6.
“It’s not an everyday eatery as it is quite pricey for locals. Once in a while it would be great though to have it as the food really is delicious. But what’s more important is the quality of seafood. For [Kazakhs], being so far from the ocean, it is a joy to have such a restaurant with fresh seafood and deliciously prepared meals. So this chain really does bring the value to the table,” said guest at the restaurant Yerbol Saduakass.
However, despite the fine-dining prices, in Kazakhstan terms, the restaurant boasts a large children’s playground and an unpretentious environment.
“There are no super-expensive finishes or cutlery or huge exquisite wine glasses,” said guest Zhanna Ayaganova. “But the vibe they have created prompts there is an ocean somewhere near, it feels like you’re somewhere on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea and almost can hear the ocean tides…”
Ayaganova said she felt a feeling of exclusiveness and comfort at Astana’s OB from the moment she walked in.
“The hostesses were friendly and the service was fast. The menu offers a good variety of dishes, the food was delicious and there is a large children’s playground for families. What else is needed for a great dining experience? It puts a smile on my face to see world-famous names coming in to our market like Starbucks and McDonald’s and now OB. It gives us a little glimpse into the other part of the world and leaves its special taste in our steppes.”
Today, OB has more than 200 restaurants in 17 countries. The company’s top management is planning to continue its expansion with five restaurants in five years planned for Kazakhstan, according to OB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Grace Harding.
“The success of every single restaurant and its owner coupled with giving the consumer more than they expect (that’s what value for money means), and it’s what we focus on. This success is coupled with a determination to build a brand globally. Trusted, consistent, relevant and distinctive,” she told businessmedialive.co.za.
“Everything we do is about sustainability. For two years, we have been setting the foundation, creating the right infrastructure and making sure that we have what our franchisees need to succeed. Now is our time for expansion,” she added.