Hammett’s collection of restaurants and event venues – Hammett’s Gastro Bar in Sliema, Hammett’s Macina Restaurant, and The Sheer Bastion in Senglea – are cultivating their focus on corporate private dining and events with a new season of bespoke offerings designed with the business community in mind.
All three venues have, since opening, provided enterprises with the opportunity to shape business meetings, staff parties, and corporate celebrations and are now set to further strengthen this area of the business through their Autumn/Winter 2018 catalogues.
“It’s all about the quality of the product and the respect for classic service,” explained Chris Hammett, Chef-Patron of the three venues, which have collectively garnered 24 awards. “We’re always trying to be one step ahead of the game, so we can provide an experience which is new and different.”
Chris Hammett, Chef-Patron. Photo: Alan Carville
After working in London for five years, in some of the city’s most highly-regarded restaurants, Mr Hammett came back to his home island to take over The Villa Brasserie at Le Méridien. Mr Hammett later ventured out on his own and opened Hammett’s Gastro Bar, on the Tigné seafront. Then, towards the end of 2017, he expanded operations to include the Sheer Bastion and, in 2018, Hammett’s Macina on the Senglea waterfront. The latter two are part of a multi-million-euro investment spent on the restoration of the Senglea Macina, the location of an iconic crane used during the period of the Knights of St John. It has been transformed into the designer Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour hotel, owned by Von der Heyden (VDH) Group’s IBB hotels, which comprise 14 hotels in four countries around Europe.
Since then, an array of corporate and private events has been catered for, with the Chef-Patron himself taking an active role in the experience. “People are really enjoying themselves at our venues and we’re lucky enough to be part of people’s memories. We do a lot of corporate events and people remember great staff parties, so that gives us a lot of satisfaction,” Mr Hammett said.
Hammett's Gastro Bar
“In the case of the Gastro Bar, we decided to go with the concept of sharing dishes of high-quality food, and set-ting this experience in a chic, city-inspired environment. The concept worked and, just a few months after opening, the Gastro Bar ranked first in its category for food, service, drinks and ambience by the 2017Definitive(ly) Good Guide to Restaurants. The layout of the bar-restaurant lends itself to a seated reception – in the form of a long table, or a more informal stand-up do.
“It’s a relaxed atmosphere, offering a strictly seasonal menu, an extensive wine list, and gourmet cocktails made with premium spirits from all around the world,” Mr Hammett stated. Moreover, the menu at Hammett’s Gastro Bar is also infused with a sense of detail, combining Asian and South American influences, with a definite Mediterranean spirit. “The concept is one of sharing – so people order smaller dishes to share – and it’s been quite a joy to see that a dining experience can be a taste of the world, and people like it. Seeing it come to life and seeing it successful has been an immense pleasure,” Mr Hammett explained.
The Sheer Bastion
Across the harbour, on the Senglea water-front, the Sheer Bastion, sitting atop VDH Group’s hotel, commands spectacular views of the historical dock nestled in the heart of the Three Cities. This is what attracted the entrepreneur to embrace the site as the location of his next ventures. “Over here you can look across the water and imagine what it was like 600 years ago. Even the building is in keeping with the character,” Mr Hammett explained. Parking is freely available, and the distance is set to become shorter when the Marsa restructuring project is complete. “People think we’re far, but it’s also only five minutes from Valletta by boat and 15 minutes by car from the centre of Malta.’’ But it was also the possibility of leaving his mark which convinced him that this was the right investment. The Hammett’s collection of restaurants in Senglea is now offering “something different to the whole area” with the Sheer Bastion, specifically, able to cater to myriad styles of private and public events,” from a fashion show to the launch of a car, conferences or staff parties.” Indeed, there are several set-up options available at this large outdoor rooftop which is split up into six distinct, but related, areas, which can all be rented for large events or split up for more intimate gatherings.
“Nowadays people know what they want and it’s all quite bespoke. We can have speciality bars, such as gin or champagne and oyster bars, as well as paella food stations, and Indian-themed events, just to give a few examples,” Mr Hammett said. This flexibility is in no small part down to the experience of the team leading the kitchens, with chefs having worked in some of the world’s most high-profile kitchens, including Michelin star restaurants from all around Europe and even South America. “A good kitchen needs to be creative, in a culinary sense, consisting of a strong-willed team that creates gastronomical works of art, whether these are special seasonal dishes or bite-sized canapés,” Mr Hammett said.
The food is also the cornerstone of a memorable experience at Hammett’s Macina, according to the Chef-Patron. “The venue is situated on the marina, at sea level. The décor is inspired by 1920s Paris and we are able to host an intimate 35 covers for a unique experience. It’s for smaller parties, or for a business meal, where you want to have a bit of privacy and during which you can enjoy your surroundings. It’s a bit more formal than the other two venues.”
Hammett’s Macina, which was a nominee for the World Luxury Restaurant Awards, also offers starter-sized portions and a suggested tasting menu, allowing a bite of a little bit of everything. Moreover, the menu also breaks from Gastro Bar in tone and influence. “With the Macina Restaurant, we’re trying to be influenced from what is around us, from this sense of history. It’s Mediterranean-inspired, but this is a Maltese Mediterranean, a mix of Italian, Spanish, Greek, Lebanese, and Moroccan, with dishes using local ingredients. We’ve tried to create menus which are fitting to the place,” Mr Hammett said. Indeed, the menu – which changes every two to three months – includes an eclectic mix of dishes, from seabream ceviche with compressed mango, cucumber, yoghurt mousse, and mint, to scallops served with asparagus, lumpfish roe, and black garlic. Furthermore, Mr Hammett explained, a wine cellar will be opening in October, introducing standout wines from around the globe and varying in vintage, from a well-regarded Sancerre to a 2005 Saint-Émilion Grand Cru.
For bookings, email [email protected], outlining the details of your request or call on 7945 1510.
This article has been adapted from the web from The Malta Business Observer