Valerio Sattin is clearly passionate about Italian food and presenting it with pizazz in the upmarket surrounds of Paper Moon in Jaidah Square. We sat him down between courses to discuss the restaurant scene and why Paper Moon, an international restaurant concept which began in Milan in the 1970s, has now opened not one but two restaurants in Doha.
Why do you think now is the right time to open a new Italian restaurant in Qatar?
The market has started to grow and open up into a more prosperous future. I can still recall that not too long ago, it was so difficult to find buffalo mozzarella or other Italian products here. But now, times have changed and indeed this is the right time to enter this market. We work as a team and we simply want to offer to the Doha market our passion, our experience and our love for Italian food.
We have had two Paper Moon restaurants open in Doha within months of each other – your restaurant and La Spiga by Paper Moon at the W. Is there a connection between the two?
There is absolutely a strong connection. The concept is exactly the same and the dishes offered on the menu are almost identical. What differentiates them though is that Paper Moon restaurant [at Jaidah Square] offers more dishes on its menu because it has a much larger kitchen. Additionally, La Spiga also gives a push to the Paper Moon brand because it is inside a hotel which is as strong as the W hotel brand.
What are your favourite dishes on the menu?
Most of the time, I love strong flavours, which is why I am always tied to classic cuisine. If I had to choose, I would say the Melanzane Parmigiana [an aubergine-based dish], Tagliatelle Bolognese [pasta dish] and Ossobuco Milanese [a regional specialty of cross-cut veal shanks], with tiramisu as dessert.
If you're not eating Italian, what kinds of international cuisine do you like?
I love looking for something different and discovering new flavours. I would say Japanese cuisine because it is full of flavour and there’s a balance in the essence of the dishes.
Paper Moon’s lunch express menu is QR79 for three courses.
INFO: 12pm-11.30pm daily, first floor Jaidah Square (go to the left side of the building to enter), Al Matar Street, 4016 6000, www.papermoonmilano.com; unlicensed, free valet parking