For the love of food

For the love of food

By Leigh-Jane Obermayer

As soon as you set foot into Riyadh’s Eataly branch, you enter a sphere of Italian food loving. The Italians have always been passionate about food and the art of dining; mealtimes are ingrained in their culture, the importance ofspending time with family. Eating is a passion, a time for pleasure and leisure.

Eataly’s unique concept – the combination of a marketplace for highest-quality Italian foods and a restaurant – is a place which captures a piece of this passion for food, family time and the art of great cooking but offers unique shopping, culinary and Italian coffee drinking experience. Just like in Rome, New York, Munich, Tokyo, Los Angeles, this concept, founded only 15 years ago in Turin, has created a loyal following for its Thalia branch.

Manager Bilal Hakim and his team serve daily Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner (“all day dining”). The choices range from traditional Italian Antipasto to classics such as Pizza, Pasta & Risotto. Eataly also serves various meat and fish dishes – we particularly liked the Agnello Brasato, a slowcooked, “falling off the bone” braised lamb shank. Our favourite Antipasti was difficult to determine: we could not decide between the Carpaccio di Polpo, a dish of thinly sliced cooked octopus with rocket, capers and black olives, or the healthy (and vegetarian!) Insalata Elegante, which is a mix of fresh pears, mixed green salad andParmigiano Reggiano with walnuts and balsamic dressing.

When exiting the restaurant, you will find it hard to resisthaving a look at the merchandise: Eataly’s retail offering ranges from fresh breads and fresh meat and cheese counter to traditional Italian olive oils, balsamic vinegars and, of course, various Italian sweets and chocolates. Allof which we would put in the high-end, luxury segment. Hence, a gift voucher (on sale in the store) can make others feel loved.

Occasionally, Eataly offers ‘cooking classes’ such as “make you own pizza” or “make your own pasta”. We were fortunate to be part of a large school class arranged by the PTA at the British International School. Eataly’s specialised team provided cooking stations within a private area of the restaurant for almost 50 students over 2 sessions. The students were given a brief history of Italian cuisine and were taught how to prepare a Chocolate Calzone along with a “Dough” sing-song. The students were able to eat their creations along with ice cream and oranges, then presented with a certificate of participation. An excellent opportunity for all the family as parents got to observe the class while enjoyingg delights from the menu.

You may have guessed already, we very much like Eataly, not only for providing great educational, delicious entertainment for school communities but for bringing a diverse range of up-market Italian dishes and products straight to our doorstep in Riyadh.

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