Monday, August 2, 2021

Let's Take 5 - Chef Giuseppe Pezzella, Cinque Dubai, Five Palm Jumeirah Hotel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates


Chef Giuseppe Pezzella

Giuseppe…tell me a little about your background. 

That is how my conversation began with Chef GiuseppePezzella, Head Chef at Cinque in FIVE Palm Jumeirah and Trattoria by Cinque in FIVE Jumeirah Village in Dubai..  Pezzella was back home in Naples for a few days and I jumped at the opportunity to take five, have a chit chat with the 32 year old Campanian native before he needed to head back to Dubai.

Pezzella shared with me that after several experiences in Campania his fine dining curriculum actually  began when he was around 21 in the kitchen with Chef Emilio Desiderio at RADA in Positano.  After four fantasticaaa seasons there, Pezzella spent the next 3 spring/summer seasons with Chef Antonino Mellino at Quattro Passi in Nerano and 2 fall/winter with Chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo  at Villa Crespi in Piedmont – both restaurants with 2 Michelin stars.  Not bad.

His experience with Quattro Passi continued in 2017 when Mellino opened up a restaurant in Dubai (which closed after the 2018 season) as well as Porto Cervo in Sardinia. 

Pezzella had caught that Dubai bug and so it was impossible for him to say no when he was offered the opportunity to become part of a new project in 2019 by Five hotels and resorts in Jumeirah.  A new restaurant – Cinque.

Pezzella hit the ground running – his mission was to put Cinque on the map as one of Dubai’s top Italian restaurants in a very competitive market.  He is committed to using quality Italian products that he has been able to source from Italy, often making trips back home, as well as throughout the rest of te world.  

Next topic – menu.  

The hotel has 500 rooms, and the restaurant serves around 150 covers a day between lunch and dinner.  Pezzella’s menu is quite extensive to ensure that the guests have a wide variety of options during their stay.

Let’s take a look at some of the dishes…

Roasted octopus, sweet and sour Tropea onions, fried potato, and green bean puree.

Coffee-flavored pasta ravioli, Apulian prawns, fish consommé with hints of the  Amalfi Coast.

Gnocchi stuffed with prawns and burrata, with a sauce featuring three tomato varieties.

Tagliatella pasta with legumes, clams, and a parsley reduction.

Pezzella changes the menu every 3 months or so. I was curious, however, if at times the chef felt that he needed to adapt his style to the guests’ desires. 

Yes, just a little.   I have many Italian dishes on the menu. Basically, the first courses are all Italian; Linguine alla Nerano, Ravioli a Capres, Risotto with prawns orange and lemon, to name a few.  but I had to modify the appetizers and the second courses a bit.  In Italy, as you know, we do not have a lot of appetizers and second courses with strong flavors, Italian cuisine is light, delicate. So for dishes like octopus, I added ponzu sauce.  I have a codfish from Australia known as glacier51 which is very expensive – I cook it at a low temperature in miso. So for some dishes I have been playing a bit with fusion- a little Japanese with Italian flavors. Since we have many guests in the hotel who dine often with us, they may not desire to eat pasta everyday.- Pezzella

I couldn’t help but notice Pezzella’s passion for pastries.  The chef told me that his love for desserts actually began while he was in Dubai and  he needed a pastry chef.  Dubai, he told me, offers many opportunities for me to take courses and update me on the latest techniques.  

Here's a glance:

 Sfera Ghiacciata. A Coconut sphere, with cherry cream, puffed chocolate and coconut foam.

Cheesecake mousse, with rhubarb and red fruit granita.

Mango E Cioccolato - white chocolate mousse, mango texture, and mango sorbet.

In 2020, the hotel decided to expand on the Italian cuisine experience by opening up Trattoria by Cinque which serves a more traditional Italian menu.


So as you can see, Pezzella has his hands full -he has already picked up awards such as Hospitality Excellence:- Chef de Cuisine of the Year for 2020, Best Restaurant in Dubai 2019 - and there’s much more in store.  Stay tuned!

Images courtesy of Chef Pezzella and Cinque Dubai.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

A Tribe Called Tribus - Tribus Restaurant, Pozzuoli (Na)

from left to right, Frattini, Marra, and Postiglione

Giuseppe, Simone, and Enzo
.  Three young  chefs, who, after working in various top restaurants in Italy and Europe, decided to come back to their roots.  Their Campanian roots and form a sort of tribe. 

A tribe in which Giuseppe (Postiglione), Simone (Frattini) and Enzo (Marra), who have been friends for years,  could create a space which -first of all, combined their idea of a restaurant and secondly, share that idea with clients in their new new location in Pozzuoli, just outside of Naples.

So the  tribe named their new adventure Tribus Restaurant.  Tribus- Latin for tribe, three, and, well whatever else you may want to read into it.  The tribe called Tribus has placed those diners who would like an experience in 1, 2, 3 ways.

 1 - Cocktails-  a friendzone perfect for those who want to have a cocktail during happy hour, before the restaurant opens for dinner.  It has become, the chefs confessed, also a popular place for selfies and Instagram pics...

2 - Aperitifs - surely with that cocktail there are those who would love to go for an aperitif.  and why not.  The tribe served me up three which could be enjoyed inside their spacious dining room or outside on their patio.

Salmon rice chips, a caprese ravioli with nobu sauce, brioche bread with creamy butter, raisins and pine nuts with cetara anchovy and lemon zest, and crackers with tuna tartare, ricotta mousse and onion in agro-dolce sauce.

3 - Dining experience -  dinner 6 days a week, or lunch on the weekends.  I chose dinner, on a Tuesday.  Check it out.

Appetizers -

Citrus marinated mackerel and stewed eggplant.

Pezzogna carpaccio with oyster sauce.

Cuttlefish, cooked at low temperature, with fennel, walnuts and nobu sauce.  
Bread basket with homemade sourdough bread and foccaccie. 

Cod in panko crust with lime mayonnaise.

Stuffed anchovy with dried tomato and provolone.

Scarole calzone with mozzarella fondue and sweet and sour sauce.

The first course of lemon risotto with bottarga and katsuobushi starred lemons from Postiglione's father's lemon grove in Pianura.

Two second courses.  First a taste of the tribe's tuna belly with ponzu sauce and black summer truffle...

Then seared snapper with capers, potatoes and lemon.

Dessert - One again, I tried 2.  The tribe must have heard about my peanut butter addictions so,...

Peanut and caramel with brownie and creamy milk chocolate.

Then to finish up on a light note ...

Millefoglie pastry with yellow cream and black cherry.

There is one thing that the photos can not show you.  The enthusiasm and the spirit of the place.  How the tribe of Postiglione, Frattini and Marra worked over the last 18 months or so to open up their children dream.  A dream that was placed on hold or diverted at least three times.  But for these guys, three is a magic number. They are building up a clientele - they have plans to renovate their outdoor dining space - they are continuously fine tuning their menu.

I am looking forward to going back- for a cocktail, or aperitif, or another dining experience...

Oh,  and maybe take a picture on the Tribus swing. :-)


Sunday, July 4, 2021

Roberto, Fai Tu - Chef Roberto Ardolino, Tquadro Food and Cocktails, Marigliano (Na)

Chef Roberto Ardolino

 Last April, April 27th to be exact, I shot out a DM to Roberto Ardolino to wish him a happy birthday and ask him what he had been up to lately.  It was in that chat that I learned that Ardolino,  an integral past of Taverna Estia's kitchen brigade for the last 7 years was ready to launch. Ardolino, sous chef for the 2 Michelin Stared restaurant in Brusciano was ready to take that first step out on his own at the young age of 29.  Destination?  His hometown of  Margliano near Naples - to T Quadro.  


Un luogo dove regna la sperimentazione. Una cucina di ricerca, cocktail di gusto. Un posto speciale dove sentirsi a casa.

A place where experimentation reigns. A cuisine based on research, tasteful cocktails. A special place to feel at home.

So I drove out last week to visit Chef Ardolino in his new space and try out - for the first time - his new menu.

Roberto, fai tu...


Stockfish camouflage with provola fondue, olive powder, confit tomato, fried caper and oregano

Saffron tapioca chips ... Fassona beef tartare and lemon mayonnaise.

Ardolino's fried oyster, soy ginger and chive flowers

Tquadro's gin cocktail...

Ardolino's crispy shrimp with black cherry mayonnaise and fried seaweed.

Tquadro has a tasting menu, so of course I went for that, beginning with the appetizers...

Smoked salmon tagliatelle with chamomile, roasted shrimp head oil, almond soup and salmon roe


Triglia di scoglio... which is Ardolino's red mullet stuffed with the ingredients found in the popular Campania escarole pizza. - escarole, a provola fondue and olive powder.


Eggplant parmigiana - creamy basil and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese , roasted tomato reduction, Datterino confit and tomato powder.

Ardolino then sent out not 1, not 2, but 3 first course dishes...

beginning with cold button pasta stuffed with basil, red fruit tomato gazpacho and vodka, flamed sea bass and basil oil.

Fagottino pasta stuffed with sea bream and lime, confit tomatoes and basil.

Spaghettone alla nerano with buffalo stracciatella, basil oil and Mazara prawns.

Ardolino and I decided that it was time to move on to the second course...just 1 ( I confessed to the chef that I didn't have much space left!)

Citrus marinated sea bream, razor clams and saffron cream, seaweed powder and roasted sconcigli.


Porn star martini sorbet and chocolate rock...

Then the chef, Roberto, finished my first evening at Tquadro with one some of my favorite flavors combined in...well, ice cream.

peanut magnum ice cream with Negroni insert and salted caramel glazed in dark chocolate and salted peanuts.

It is never easy to make your own place at the pass for the first time.  Ardolino, who will be joined at the end of the summer by his brother, Giuseppe, has given his hometown ...

   Un luogo dove regna la sperimentazione. Una cucina di ricerca, cocktail di gusto. Un posto speciale dove sentirsi a casa.

A place where experimentation reigns. A cuisine based on research, tasteful cocktails. A special place to feel at home.

Buon lavoro, Roberto!