5 minutes with… Frankie’s Italian Bar & Grill chef
A chat with Chef Fabio Nompleggio from Frankie’s Italian Bar & Grill in Dubai
How long have you lived in Dubai? I left Italy to move to Dubai in 2011. I love Italy and it’s home to some of the best food in the world but Dubai was a challenge I had to take on – this is a place where things are really happening and it has given me the chance to make some important steps in my career.
Where do you like to hang out in Dubai when you’re not at work? I love to eat in all the different restaurants the city has to offer. Other than that, I go shopping, ride my bicycle around the Marina, play golf. I use my free time to take advantage of everything Dubai has to offer.
What’s your top tip for visitors to Dubai? Explore the old city for spices and dates to take back to your home country.
What one thing would you like to do in Dubai that you haven’t done before? Spend three days living the life of Dubai luxury at the Burj Al Arab.
What career journey did you take before joining your restaurant? I started my career, while still studying at Anzio Culinary School, at the age of 16, when I joined a small restaurant in Anzio. Formally trained in all aspects of Italian cuisine, I worked in a variety of renowned restaurants, such as San Lorenzo in Rome, Unico in Milan, Andre (ranked 33 in the world) in Singapore, Armani Milano, as well as a Michelin star restaurant Acetaia. I moved to Dubai when I was 25, and have worked for Armani Ristorante as a Chef de Partie, moving on to become a Sous Chef, before I joined Frankie’s as an Executive Head Chef in 2013.
Why should Time Out readers try your restaurant? I consider Frankie’s Italian Bar and Grill to be an icon of the restaurant scene in Dubai. The team here really make an effort to deliver an all-round great experience in everything we do, from creating truly authentic food, to pairing it with great service and hospitality.
What’s the best thing about dining at your restaurant in 2015? Frankie’s ‘surprise menu’: the concept was to create a menu in collaboration with guests based on their preferences and requests. It’s a special way of interacting with our diners and giving them a chance to take some ownership of the menu and I love it. You would basically tell me what flavours you feel like and what allergies you have, if any, and I will ‘surprise’ you with either a four or six course menu.
What’s your dish recommendation at your restaurant? Cacio e Pepe Ravioli – a simple, traditional and unique dish I’m very proud of. It’s full of flavour and reflects recipes from my home city, Rome, presented in a modern way.