COCKTAILS AT DAWN AS MAHIKI BRINGS POLYNESIAN FUN TO DUBAI

IT WAS strictly guest-list only at last night’s opening party for Mahiki Dubai. “We are expecting 500-plus and queues out of the door,” said a spokesperson for the club, which opens to the public today in the basement of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

The Jumeirah is a venue “completely given over to the pleasures of life”, which makes it the natural habitat for the Polynesian-themed club that started in London in 2005 as an antidote to the venues that had become all about “seeing and being seen”.

“Dubai is where London was six years ago – people are out to show off,” said the spokesperson, who refused to confirm which Emirates VIPs joined Mahiki’s co-owner Nick House at yesterday’s opening because “the whole brand concept is not to show off about our famous guests”.

Instead, the club’s cocktail menu will have to do the talking – a similar list to the London club except, of course, all prices are in United Arab Emirates dirhams (AED).

Helping put “the word fun back into an evening out” are Baron Samedi’s Brew, a “vicious voodoo blend” at AED 50 (£8), rising to AED 1,500 (£260) for the champagne and Bacardi-based Sea Pearl, which “serves many”, and the Armada Treasure Chest made with Cristal at AED 7,500 (£1,315). All prices, assures Mahiki, offer “value for money”…

STAR TREATMENT
ARSENAL’s players may have their moments – but having their club presented as A***nal, as appeared on Virgin Media’s TV menus over the weekend, was perhaps a step too far.

The unfortunate rebranding was caused by a bug in Virgin’s automated profanity checker, which also announced an adaptation of Bleak House by Charles D***ens, a remake of The 39 Steps by Hitchc**k, the Will Smith film Hanc**k, and a documentary for diehard waterways enthusiasts called The Golden Age of Ca**ls.

A Virgin Media spokesperson said: “A temporarily over-zealous profanity checker took offence at certain programme titles. The altered titles have been swiftly an*lysed and we’re fixing any remaining glitches.”

Thankfully Scunthorpe’s Saturday game against Exeter wasn’t televised.

TWITTER ACCOUNT
SHOULD the City have noticed earlier that Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia was preparing to invest $300m in Twitter? As @dePrince55 announced on the microblogging site on 5 September: “It’s been a long time – but we are back… to more and more success.”

The prince’s Kingdom Holding Company, which links to the Twitter profile, was yesterday reluctant to confirm whether that is the sovereign’s official Twitter account.

Until it confirms definitively either way, The Capitalist will continue to follow the “prince” with interest.

PRICE ISN’T RIGHT
YESTERDAY’S interim results from HMV warned of even tougher times ahead and raised questions over the music retailer’s future viability.

But this wouldn’t have come as a surprise for investors who read the company’s 2011 annual report earlier this year, which featured artist Jessie J on the front cover.

After all, Jessie J is famed for her number one hit “Price Tag”, in which she sings: “It’s all about the money, money, money…”. Perhaps someone could have told HMV management.

LIZ TAYLOR EFFECT
STEVE Jobs, Michael Jackson, Liz Taylor: some celebrities keep making money from beyond the grave – even, generously, for other people.

Following the $116m auction of Liz Taylor’s jewels at Christie’s in New York on 14 December, a number of shoppers have come in to Chelsea jeweller By Brilliant, which specialises in lab-created diamonds, asking for cut-price replicas of Taylor’s collection.

Most in demand is a £485 version of the £5.6m Krupp diamond bought for Taylor by Richard Burton (pictured below left with Taylor) – and By Brilliant’s sales for December 2011 are up by 16 per cent compared to the same month in 2010.

MEXICAN WAVE
PRIVATE equity firm Quilvest helped fuel the Yo Sushi boom, and now it is doing the same for Mexican food, investing £3.5m in fast-food outlet Tortilla.

The chain only launched in London in 2007, but has been spreading like wildfire ever since, adding six further sites – including Leadenhall Market and Canary Wharf – with plans to open in Wimbledon and a ninth, as yet unconfirmed, location.

As part of yesterday’s deal, Quilvest partner Axelle Strain joins the board of Tortilla’s directors, while Paul Campbell, whose Hill Capital Partners fund is an additional investor in the Mexican chain, is a non-executive director.