The fourth and latest in the growing Remo’s family of restaurants recently opened its doors in Sandton City’s revamped Nelson Mandela Square. Remo’s Liberta has an undeniably authentic feel to it: it has a large, café-style interior filled with memorabilia (not the cheesy kind), a long marble bar counter for aperitivo and light meals, and spills out onto the square with a menu that really will transport you to Italy. We chatted to Renzo Scribante, Remo’s Managing Director and one of the original four Scribante brothers to find out a little more.
This is the fourth Remo’s in the familia, what’s special about Libertà?
Libertà is our biggest store, and it’s located on Sandton’s iconic Nelson Mandela Square. This European-style piazza commemorates heritage and draws a cosmopolitan society to its sidewalk cafés. We’re proud to look out of our shop and see the statue of Nelson Mandela alongside our brand. The store itself is unique and very European.
What’s behind the name Libertà?
Libertà means freedom in Italian, and the name was chosen to reflect the freedom that Madiba campaigned for all his life. At Libertà, our diners feast beneath a larger-than-life black and white mural of a young Madiba wearing boxing gloves, while historic photographs of other famous South African boxers and the familiar black-and-white Scribante family photographs fill up the walls.
How do you manage to give such an authentic feel to both your menus and interiors?
Remo’s is all about being authentic. Our concept is not a cut-and-paste template, each store is special in its own way. Our team of dedicated, passionate people is intricately involved in every decision. As for the menu, we balance old Scribante family meals with new-style Italian dishes, and it works. Many of our team members have spent considerable time in Italy, breathing in the beauty, food and lifestyle, and this intimate knowledge of our inspiration informs every decision we make.
Your favourite dish on the menu?
Tagliatelle Bolognese – just like Mamma makes it!
And one that our readers have to try?
Our Fritto Misto, served with a glass of great Italian wine at the bar. The flavours in this deep-fried calamari dish, with its zucchini, mushroom and chilli tomato sauce will transport you to the heart of Italy. But you have to sit at the bar!
Tell us about the wine and why it’s different?
We’re passionate about authentic Italian products. And so, to create a real experience we brought the best Italian wines to our store. Our imported wines are sourced from Italian estates including Fontanafredda, Borgogno and Brandini – all world-famous wineries in the Barolo region. We also support Italian wine-makers here in South Africa, stocking world-class varietals from Morgenster, DallaCia and Idiom, to name a few.
What’s in store for 2016?
Our four Remo’s stores are complemented by an Italian food emporium called Old Town Italy in Umhlanga. Old Town incorporates a café, bar, retail shopping space, artisanal bakery, deli and butchery, which transport our customers back to a time when slowing things down, celebrating ethics, preserving standards and rediscovering quality were the cornerstones of society. It’s an honest food experience. And this year, Old Town Italy is coming to Pretoria. We’re very excited!
Head to Remo’s Liberta at Shop 31, Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton City, Johannesburg, or call to book on 011 883 0664.