Paul Godbold talks to leading Italian restauranteur Beppe de Vito, founder of ilLido, uncovering what his future plans are and how to create a successful culinary offering to the food-educated residents of Singapore.
Italian Beppe de Vito is a well-known personality in Singapore’s food and beverage scene. Graduating from one of Italy’s top schools of Hospitality has gained him operational and management experience at some of the most reputable establishments in France, Italy, Spain, the US and Asia. Within Asia, Beppe de Vito has 15 years of experience helming the best restaurants and bars in Hong Kong and Singapore.
His developments include ilLido Dining & Lounge Bar at Singapore‘s Sentosa Golf Club, arguably the most stylish Italian restaurant with an unsurpassed view of the South China sea from a vantage point off the cliff on Sentosa island. Beppe also turned heads on the Singapore’s F&B scene with the opening of FORLINO, delivering an ultra-luxe gourmet experience with impeccable Italian fine cuisine.
Hi Beppe, congratulations on the success of the il-Lido restaurants, let’s start with the obvious question for all us non-Italian speaking people, what does il Lido mean?
Beppe de Vito: Lido in Italian refers to the beach. That said, we were actually inspired by the Lido Island in Venice when we were conceptualizing ilLido Singapore. As a leisure and entertainment destination, the Lido Island is very similar to what Sentosa (where we are located) and ilLido embody. Bringing ilLido to KL, we maintain the same concept where we create an all-inclusive wine and dine environment.
Tell us about your background, where were you born and where did you grow up?
Beppe de Vito: I grew up in a small town of Bari in southern Italy, and I lived there all through my teenage years.
At what age did you decide you wanted to work in the F&B industry and were you influenced by anyone?
Beppe de Vito: I started working part-time in a small trattoria in my hometown. That was when I was just 9 years old, and hoping to earn some allowance money during the holidays. Seeing how smart the waiters looked, and how they play a big part on delivering the unique dining experience customers seek for, I wanted to be that man in charge of delivering experiences. By 14, I had enrolled into hotel management in the popular Perotti Institute in Bari.
When did you open ilLido in Kuala Lumpur and was the global economic climate ever a factor?
Beppe de Vito: ilLido Kuala Lumpur was officially opened in June last year because we realized that the restaurant scene in KL is just starting to warm up and that a restaurant like ilLido was certainly missing from the Italian dining scene. Trattorias and casual dining outlets still occupy the market, and we do believe that we are the first Italian restaurant to offer a more personalized and finer touch to the environment, service, and most importantly, the food we serve.
Is there a particular ilLido dish that you regard as your ‘flagship’?
Beppe de Vito: Instead of choosing one particular dish as a flagship, we see to it that our menu is a well-balanced repertoire of Italian classics as a whole – a menu that brings the representative dishes from all across Italy, and we feature products/ items that are familiar in Italy, but are not commonly used in the Italian restaurants in KL, which we believe is what sets us apart from the other Italian restaurants also.
How often do you review the ilLido menu?
Beppe de Vito: We review the menu every two to three months, and refresh the menu with new items. In addition to that, we also have daily specials to our lunch sets and monthly/ seasonal items by incorporating the exclusive white asparagus or white truffles season. Ultimately, the cuisine takes centre stage at ilLido, and we want to bring the best of Italy to our diners in KL.
With three successful restaurants under your belt, are there any more in the pipeline?
Beppe de Vito: At this point, we can safely say that we do have some plans in the works. For us, if we see that there is an interesting dining concept which we can bring to Malaysians or Singaporean’s, we are definitely open to these opportunities.
ilLido restaurant – Where and how?
ilLido Restaurants and Bars
43 Carpenter Street,
04-01 Greatwood Building,
For more information on locations and bookings etc, click here.
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