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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - JEDDAH: Luna Reef Restaurants, located inside the Jeddah Yacht Club, has brought together five restaurants, each boasting authenticity and class and offering the best view of the sea in town: Italian restaurants Madeo and Le Vesuvio, French fine-dining restaurant Le Comptoir De Nicole, Sri Lankan eatery Hoppers, and pizza place Emmy Squared Pizza.
The chefs from each restaurant are working hard to move their locales to a more permanent spot so they can be a part of the already growing collection of superb restaurants in the Kingdom.
Daniel Lewis, the executive branch chef for Emmy Squared Pizza, said that they are always open to trying new things. The pizza parlor recently came up with the “Loaded Ronni” pizza, given the Saudi predilection for pepperoni pizza.
The pizzeria is a must-try for those who enjoy comfort food. The pizzas are baked in a square tin tray that is coated with brown butter. The spongy dough pairs sublimely with the mozzarella cheese, baked to golden perfection.
French restaurant Le Comptoir De Nicole gets its name from old French; the word “comptoir” today is used to describe a casual, relaxed dining setting.
“In America, they call this kind of pizza a pie, and if you speak to an Italian chef, they are going to tell you it is not a pizza. However, the quality of the ingredients that we use is what matters the most. We get ourselves the best ingredients that we can globally, so that is what sets us apart from the run-of-the-mill pizza,” Lewis said.
Some of the ingredients used in the pizza are shipped here from Italy to ensure they are the best in the market. The chef said that they were still working to put a Saudi twist on things.
“I have some Middle Eastern experience, but this year I am going to dive much deeper into the culture and try to adapt some of our recipes and offerings to the people here. While doing that, we still want to maintain the award-winning standard that we have set.”
When asked about his favorite aspect of the restaurant, he said it is a perfect setting for groups: “It is all about sharing. It is very relaxed.”
Madeo, for its part, does not just represent Italian food but the legacy of an Italian family. It is owned and run by Alfio Vietina and his wife Elvira Buffoni. For over 35 years, they have been creating recipes and plan to hand them down to the coming generations.
For Madeo, the main idea is not to put a twist on Italian food but to remain consistent and deliver the same food in Jeddah as is served in their branch in Los Angeles.
The square pizza trend caught on with mechanics in Detroit, as they would keep screws and other smaller components in similar tin boxes; later, they would take them home and bake pizzas in them.
“We must follow the recipe, and every day we try and make the best version of it. We are very excited to give our guests an Italian fine-dining experience,” said Davide Figliolini, executive chef of Madeo.
The restaurant has kept its food simple yet delicious, so it appeals to all palates.
Customers of French eatery Le Comptoir De Nicole, meanwhile, say it is the “perfect place to fall in love” with its beautiful view of the nightly fireworks. It presents the signature dishes of Nicole Rubi, who has managed to capture the spirit of Nice, located on the French Riviera, in her culinary creations. Their burrata fraiche and Wagyu beef tagliata are among the restaurant’s best sellers.
Head Chef Joginder Dham said: “The coast of Jeddah is the perfect setting for the bright and cheerful Comptoir de Nicole. I am happy to bring Mediterranean classics to the Red Sea.”
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