FACT Chats: Krystian Hordejuk, Group Beverage Manager at Tashas Group
The launch of Galaxy Bar’s new beverage menu follows hot on the heels of the team’s win at the World’s 50 Best Bars Awards, where they received the Campari One to Watch Award 2020 – a first for a venue in the Middle East. We catch up with Tashas Group Group Beverage Manager, Krystian Hordejuk to discuss all things mixology.
What can guests expect from a visit to Galaxy Bar In DIFC?
Guests can expect sophisticated surroundings and warm hospitality accompanied by the amazing sounds of the Galaxy Bar. Our bar and cocktails are designed to enhance the customer’s sensory experience and we believe that Galaxy Bar has become a destination as a result.
Please tell us about your day-to-day role as Group Beverage Manager and what keeps it challenging and exciting?
In a nutshell, my role covers the beverage development process for each of the group’s brands, whilst assisting in operational roll-out per the annual calendar.
My day-to-day essentially includes a lot of planning and forecasting, to manage all the locations within Tashas Group. What keeps my role interesting is that no two days are the same, spearheading multiple projects simultaneously keeps me alert and focused. I always stay in close contact with my bar and sommeliers team to ensure they have the support they need to run operations efficiently, according to our vision for each of the brands.
What inspired you to pursue a career in mixology and beverages?
I have always been inspired by the creativity and the opportunity of the mixology sector; the sky is the limit in this industry! It can take you all over the world, meeting many different people from all walks of life along the way.
Placing at number 67 and receiving the Campari One to Watch award as part of The World’s 50 Best Bars awards programme is a fantastic achievement considering Galaxy Bar opened in 2019. What do you believe was the recipe for success?
Self-discipline was an important ingredient in receiving last’s year World’s 50 Best Bars nomination, and the other accolades that we received. Having a passionate team with a strong work ethic was also a very important element. The credit must go to my team, and to our beloved customers who have been supporting us from day one. We wouldn’t be where we are now without them.
The award was a first for a venue in the Middle East. Do you now feel the Galaxy team are stalwarts, paving the way for Dubai’s burgeoning beverage scene?
Dubai has an amazing bar scene with great multicultural talent that constantly adapts and develop alongside the city. I think it’s crucial as a city to push the boundaries collectively and emphasise some of the best F&B offerings in the Middle East.
I wouldn’t necessarily say that we’re paving the way for the burgeoning beverage scene. However that would be a great compliment. There are so many other great bars in the region winning accolades and getting international exposure. Nonetheless, considering the challenging events of 2020, we’ve focused on our plan to remain active in bringing more attention to the Middle East.
What are the signature beverages at Galaxy Bar, and do you have a favourite to prepare for guests?
Our recently launched Signature Cocktail menu features 12 very diverse serves, aimed to surprise our guests who are always looking for something new and exciting. Whether you are devoted to the Classic Manhattan or simply looking for low ABV aromatic highball, our team has an array of offerings to match each guests’ expectations.
One of my favourite drinks on the menu is named The Drops of Jupiter, as it’s a drink that brings me back to my childhood memories. A mix of house-crafted dry fruit compote which is carbonated and served along with saffron bitters.
Galaxy Bar has launched a new menu inspired by the constellations. Would you please describe your creative process when it comes to the creation of new beverages?
I’d say that the process of bar menu development for Galaxy Bar is very similar to building an à la carte menu for a restaurant. It is about having a healthy balance between various drinks, suitable for the specific venue and appealing to different demographics whilst maintaining the sensory experience that is so unique to our venue.
Where did you get the inspiration for these new beverages and how much research went into each drink?
“You must unlearn the constellations to see the stars.” This quote, written by Jack Gilbert, was a huge inspiration when creating cocktails on the new menu. We took time to look closely at each drink from Galaxy Bar’s previous menu, aiming to create a completely new sensory experience, matching with the ambience of the venue and what we feel our guests would enjoy.
Mixology is an unsung art form. How many iterations will each drink go through before ending up on the menu for public consumption?
It’s correct that art and bartending goes hand in hand. Similar principles apply to surprise the audience by creating an experience worth savouring.
From the design to the actual menu launch, the entire process took over 12 months, where each shortlisted cocktail went under scrutiny from our tasting panel. Many factors were considered, such as the aftertaste of the drink, balance, and presentation, all before a beverage will appear on the final menu.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the nightlife scene in the UAE. How did Galaxy Bar adapt to the evolving restrictions, and do you see a return to form for nightlife in Dubai in the coming months?
No Greek eatery would be complete without its after-dinner counterpart, and Galaxy Bar is just that to Avli. Last year, due to COVID restrictions and having to close the bar, we extended the seating capacity of our sister venue, Avli by Tashas. This allowed us to operate as a private dining space for those that were seeking more privacy, at the same time as maintaining social distance regulations.
We’re already experiencing a wonderful return of our guests and the upcoming months are very promising for all the F&B outlets in Dubai because of Expo 2020.
What do you do to stay current on new trends and how do you feel about creating beverage presentations purely for Instagram?
I believe that true hospitality should refrain from digital disruption and stick to human connection. All the visual aspects of our drinks and their presentations were made with our guests in mind. If they happen to take a picture for Instagram, we hope it is because they loved the entire experience of Galaxy Bar.
What do you think it is about Galaxy Bar that has resonated so much with Dubai patrons?
Dubai is famous for grand open spaces, large restaurants as well as busy clubs and bars. Galaxy Bar is the opposite of that. Tucked away in a secret corner of DIFC, it is an intimate yet vibrant cocktail lounge where our guests can enjoy themselves late into the night under the glistening stars.
Working in the industry, where do you like to go for drinks when you have a day off?
Considering my line of work, I rather enjoy myself on the terrace of my home, listening to my vinyl collection and winding down. I love watching the sunset over the Arabian Gulf, savouring the last moments of the day.