When I got an invitation from Giuseppe “Pepe” Viva to visit him at Cape Sienna, I was quick to accept. Not only was I interested in the major overhaul conceptualized and initiated by Frank Dreist, the GM at the famed hotel in Kamala; I was curious about Pepe himself. After all most of us, Phuket foodies, know him as the General Manager at the beach club previously known as Bliss, yet here he is, the F&B Manager at Cape Sienna.
But it took five minutes of a conversation with Pepe and executive chef Francesco Greco to understand why he took the new job – the energy and passion those two share is unstoppable and reflected in all the great things happening at the hotel.
“We are expanding our flagship restaurant, Plum, with more covered outdoor tables; we expanded the terrace at the Vanilla Sky Bar & Lounge; added a new outlet with our Gastro Pub, which will soon be accessible with its own lift; there’s even a new building – Sienna Rocks Cafe – coming up across the street, where I want to serve eggs benedict and crepes by the seaside,” told me Pepe, as we explored the premises.
Eggs Benedict and crepes by the seaside, waffles and Danishes baked in front of the guest at breakfast by the pool, certified Charolaise beef and hand-boned quails at dinner, the conversation kept going back to Pepe’s and Francesco biggest passion – food. Food, which at Cape Sienna, rules the roast and is never compromised on.
“In some restaurants, the only element of fine dining is the price and then they fail miserably with the produce. We say fine dining and we do fine dining – best quality available on the market,” says chef Greco. “Take beef for example. Everywhere else you will find Australian wagyu. Why? Because it’s cheap. But it’s not the same quality as the Japanese Kuroge Washu that we serve. We don’t try the easy way.” Nor the pricy way. By focusing on selling quality instead of quantity, they manage to keep prices competitive.
And this dedication to quality applies to all dining experiences at Cape Sienna. “I’m not proud of one dish but of the whole thing. We put the same effort into all the details, we are not famous just for one thing” says chef Greco. So, whether it’s the nine different menus every single day in the half board package, the new items on the menu such as Spanish Carabineros Shrimp Carpaccio with Phytoplankton vinaigrette or the meats on Plum’s menu, they all are a labour of love. Love for gourmet food.
Learn more on capesienna.com