When Dining Concepts' managing director, Sandeep Sekhri, launches a new restaurant, it's almost a guarantee that there will be an impressive turnout. He outdid himself with the opening party for Lupa last Thursday. More than 2,000 guests attended the opening of the restaurant - a partnership with US celebrity chef Mario Batali, who was also at the event. 'We lost track at 1,800 [guests] at 8.30pm,' Sekhri said. 'I guess it has something to do with the location and the Batali name.' Guests flooded into the 5,500 square foot space on the third floor of the new LHT Tower in Central. Long queues formed quickly at the open bar and buffet. We can also expect two more grand openings for Batali before the end of the year - his Carnevino steakhouse will open above Lupa in June and 'red sauce' joint Masseria will open in Causeway Bay's Hysan Place. Having already helped celebrity chefs including Michael White and Laurent Tourondel open restaurants in Hong Kong, Sekhri said he had been approached by star chefs across the globe. '[Many] want to expand their ventures to Hong Kong, which is a gateway to [other cities in] Asia. They are looking for someone who's experienced in servicing those brands. The key is to execute their visions instead of just opening another restaurant.' Don't expect Lupa to be any less crowded in the near future. We've heard that it is already booked solid for the next two weeks.