Dubai's Il Borro to bring the flavours of Tuscany to Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Located in Jumeirah Al Naseem hotel, the restaurant recently opened a new branch in London's Mayfair

You don’t have to be a Ferrari fan to enjoy an Italian experience at the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2021.

The award-winning Dubai restaurant Il Borro Tuscan Bistro will make its debut in the UAE capital with a pop-up venue at the Yas Marina Circuit. Joining the likes of popular Japanese restaurant Nobu and an adventurous Lebanese menu by celebrity chef George Malouf, the Tuscan restaurant is one of a number of high-end eateries making an appearance by the tracks.

While the exact location within the venue is yet to be determined, the restaurant confirmed to The National that it will be a walk-in venue and will serve a set menu.

Chef Stefano Giovannetti at Il Borro Tuscan Bistro Dubai. Victor Besa / The National.

Leading a small team on site, Tuscan head chef Stefano Giovannetti says the restaurant is ready to make an impression at the big race.

“This is something different because we are used to people coming to us and now we are coming to them,” he says. “This is an interesting opportunity because it is a chance to show what we can do. Also, as any chef will tell you, it is always special when people try your food for the first time.”

The Abu Dhabi move is also a strategic one.

With Il Borro Tuscan Bistro opening a London branch in Mayfair this month, the home-grown UAE brand aims to make an impression amid the jet-setters at the race.

“We are located in an area where there are lot of businessman and tourists” Giovannetti says. “So we do want to catch their attention and hopefully that results in them visiting any of our venues.”

Where Nobu opted for about 30 dishes of light bites, Il Borro Tuscan Bistro will bring a variety of renowned hearty dishes.

Il Borro's pappa al pomodoro. Victor Besa / The National.

One of which is the pappa al pomodoro, a thick bread soup starter made with ripped chunks of bread and enlivened with a zesty tomato sauce infused with generous amounts of garlic and basil.

“This is probably one of the most authentic Tuscan dishes and a staple of any household over there” Giovannetti says. “Instead of wasting food, families would use the leftover bread, which has its own texture, and mash it into the sauce. We do it a little bit more elegantly but the flavours are genuine.”

Strozzapreti all'anatra. Victor Besa / The National.

Strozzapreti all' anatra, another Tuscan favourite, is made from home-made strozzapreti spinach pasta and served with a decadent braised duck sauce and duck ragu with a hint of sage.

“The duck has its own rich flavours and the reason why we did it as a green pasta [is] because [of] the quality of the spinach we are able to secure here,” he explains.

“Because everything we are doing for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is made fresh and from scratch, there will be a lot of preparation.

“We will make all the pasta and other items here in our Dubai kitchen and transport it to Yas Marina. It will be a long and crazy weekend, but I am excited.”

The Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2021 runs from Thursday to Sunday, December 9 to 12. More information is available at yasmarinacircuit.com

Updated: December 5th 2021, 4:05 AM