A Quarterly Newsletter from the UAE and Oman member firms of the PKF International Ltd.

VOL 14, Issue 04 October 2012

Interview

Mrs. Simona Musso, an entrepreneur from Italy,has recently opened Italianissmo Restaurant at the Boutik Mall, Sun & Sky Towers, Reem Island, Abu Dhabi. ‘Italianissmo’ has been painstakingly planned and designed to give its customers a taste of authentic Italian cuisine.

Q.     Can you tell something about yourself and what you were doing before you decided to relocate to Abu Dhabi?

A.      I was associated with, and worked for about eight years in Italy and abroad in a company connected to my husband’s numerous activities related to food. When my husband and I decided to continue our adventure of living and working abroad, it was natural for us to opt for Abu Dhabi as we both genuinely relate to the place and feel truly at home.

Q.     What was the thought process behind selecting Abu Dhabi as your investment destination?

A.        As I have said, and for a true Italian this could not be any other way, the first choice was dictated by the heart, and then further confirmed by a number of positive elements such as the security environment in the country, the progressive marketplace with a bright future, a favorable tax regime and many similarities between the mentality of Italians and UAE nationals.

Q      Can you tell us why you felt that Abu Dhabi needed one more Italian restaurant?

A.      Having visited Abu Dhabi several times in the past few years, we realized that the Italian restaurants here are mostly ‘projections’ of the large hotels which have their focus more on business than on any real love for Italian cuisine. Each choice in Italianissimo Restaurant is made ​​with love and attention to detail.

Q.     How does ‘Italianissmo’ differ from other Italian restaurants in Abu Dhabi?

A.      The differences are substantial. The choice of ingredients is based on an exaggerated quest for quality and freshness. For example, to help you understand, to ensure that we have real traditional pizza dough we decided to import water and weekly burrata from Italy by airfreight.The execution of the absolutely traditional recipes is ensured by four Italian chefs who guarantee the authenticity of all ranges. In the dining room, Claudius (the Maitre Italian) and I do the rest.

Q.     Will this be a single outlet restaurant or do you plan to open more outlets?

A.     We plan to open two more outlets in Abu Dhabi and an outlet in Dubai before looking at Oman and Saudi Arabia.

Q.    What do you believe are the biggest challenges that the retail food business will have to face in the region over the coming few years?

A.     I believe that as we grow, the market too will evolve, with the average customer becoming increasingly informed and demanding. The real challenge therefore will be to adapt constantly to the customers’ needs.