Five Minutes With.. Alessio Ruffoni, Manager, Al Grissino Restaurant & Lounge Dubai

Alessio Ruffoni explains why he is bringing Milan’s Al Grissino dining concept to Dubai, and potential plans for Abu Dhabi.

Why have you brought the Al Grissino brand to Dubai?

Being Italian food enthusiasts, my boss and his family were besotted by the ambience and flavour of Al Grissino in Milano. After becoming frequent customers, they decided to bring the unique flavours and the quintessential Italian charm of Al Grissino to Dubai. There is nothing quite like it here.

What kind of team and staff have you acquired?

It’s a good mix of staff, which in my opinion nicely reflects the cultural mixing pot that is Dubai; our employees hail from all over the world, including Serbia, Macedonia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Mexico, Colombia and of course Italy, as well as many more. Some of the people I have previously worked with have joined me on this venture, so I am supported by a strong team.

What trends are occurring in the UAE’s gastronomy scene?

Having lived here for nine years, I’ve definitely seen Dubai’s standards in food & beverage grow to parallel the great culinary capitals of the world. There are a lot of concept restaurants here, and whilst the dishes served up are beautiful, I feel they tend to favour presentation over the flavour and quality of the food. Don’t get me wrong, the look of the dish is very important but I tend to look for simplicity and for the best products in terms of quality and freshness. Furthermore, Dubai has been quick to adopt a modernist fine dining lifestyle. You can see more and more of such food being served up. I plan to lend the fine dining experience more freshness and authenticity.

In a market full of Italian restaurants how do you see Al Grissino standing out?

Al Grissino brings a very different dining experience from the rest. Everything from the unique appetiser serving style to the setting of the restaurant should definitely elevate the notion of Italian food and flavour to a higher level. Al Grissino is not just a restaurant, it’s an experience.

What are your expectations for the venue in a few month’s time?

Offering amazing food at great value for money, I see Al Grissino swiftly becoming the ‘Hot Spot’ to be at in Dubai.

Do you have expansion plans for the wider region?

We might have plans for Abu Dhabi, as it’s another blooming market for the culinary best.

What’s your leadership style?

A mix of authority and democracy. I tend to be firm but I always promote creativity at work.

Are you hiring?

Yes, we are currently hiring, with the help of our HR Manager.