SetteBello at the Italian Club
SetteBello translates to “The Beautiful Seven”, a number intimately connected with new opportunities, completeness and perfection...
SetteBello has created a relaxed atmosphere with a contemporary, modern home setting, where sitting down for a meal takes you on a journey to an Italian Nonna’s kitchen. SetteBello is a meeting place that is full of laughter, joy and true Italian culture. Quite simply, Settebello is about the passion for enjoyable food, wine and memorable moments with family and friends!
We chatted to Owner Pino De Bennedetto about his new restaurant at the Italian Club, and what makes it a must visit for every Joburger who loves authentic Italian cuisine.
“Absolutely the best Italian cuisine anywhere. The vibe and ambience is really great. The two owners walk around constantly checking that everything is okay.”
JS: What gives SetteBello the edge?
PDB: Its authenticity to not only food, but life and family.
JS: What kind of vibe is on offer?
PDB: A wholesome vibe of yesteryear, and trying to recreate the family atmosphere you find in a small village in Italy where the family is big, loud and happy.
JS: You’ve got a generational following, why?
PDB: Because we cater for families in a safe and secure environment plus we have great food and humour.
JS: Why is the Italian Club culture so important to you?
PDB: It’s where I grew up and spent most of my time at, I played football for Olympia the football club here for 30 years, I got engaged to my wife here, and I got married here, my kids are at home here and more importantly it’s a place for likeminded people to get together.
JS: What’s your strategy to cope with stress in the restaurant industry?
PDB: By loving what I do and knowing I have the support of my wife, family and friends, and when I see someone enjoying the place it makes it all worthwhile.
JS: What’s the biggest food trend of this year? Any interesting ingredient or technique that you like to use?
PDB: The Neapolitan pizza is taking off in SA (finally) thank god we are at the forefront of this trend, Gelato is also making a strong comeback.
JS: Where do you think the next big mecca of food is?
PDB: I don’t think it’s where it comes from but I think it’s turning towards, wholesome, healthy and sustainable ingredients.
JS: Share with us some of your favourite restaurants at the moment.
PDB: Fumo in PTA for its authenticity to the Neapolitan kitchen, the small Indian restaurant down the road, have no idea what it’s called, Haiku in CT, Fireroom in Bedford.
JS: Tons of talented people would love to work in your restaurant. What do you look for in the people you hire?
PDB: Hard working, creative passionate people who are as loud as us and love the idea of being true to the ingredients and not really worrying about money.
JS: What makes a good mentor in the kitchen/ restaurant business?
PDB: Someone who lives what he preaches and teaches.
JS: Have any of your former employees gone on to open their own places?
PDB: No not yet, they love staying here.
JS: Is there anything that diners should always order at your restaurant?
PDB: Pizza, Cannoli and the Gnocchi.
JS: What is one thing that you would still like to do that you haven’t done, and what motivates you
to keep achieving more?
PDB: I would love to open a cooking school that is run by the Nonnas, teaching the new generations the flavours and techniques of the past.
JS: If you weren’t a Restaurateur, what do you think you’d be doing?
PDB: I would be with people in a job that would allow me to meet, teach and inspire
JS: What is your view on sustainability and how are you achieving this in your efforts?
PDB: Very important to us, we try and only cook with seasonal ingredients, we grown our own herbs and some vegetables, and try be as green as possible from the products we use to clean to the utensils we use.