King Salman, Kremlin upbeat about ‘milestone’ royal visit

King Salman and President Putin at the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, in this file photo taken on 15 Nov 2015.
Updated 04 October 2017

King Salman, Kremlin upbeat about ‘milestone’ royal visit

JEDDAH: King Salman hopes his visit to Russia this week and talks with President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials will achieve the aspirations of the two countries, he told the Cabinet on Tuesday.
Addressing the weekly meeting at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah, the king told ministers he looked forward to the visit enhancing relations between the countries to serve common interests and bring about global peace and security.
The historic visit, the first to Russia by a Saudi monarch, begins on Thursday. The king will lead a high-level delegation of government and private-sector figures.
Saudi Aramco will participate in a range of high-level engagements and activities including an exhibit throughout the royal visit.
The highlight will be the Saudi-Russian Business Investment Forum to be held in Moscow under the theme: Investment, Toward Building a Strong Partnership. The forum will be officially opened by Russia’s Minister of Energy, Alexander Novak.
Senior scholars and businessmen in Riyadh said the visit will open new areas of mutual cooperation and the two countries will reap benefits.
Shoura Council member Maj. Gen. Ali Al-Tamimi told Arab News that Saudi Arabia under King Salman, will open a new chapter not only in Saudi-Russian relations, but also in combating terror in the world.
“The first ever official visit by a Saudi king to Moscow since the foundation of the Kingdom demonstrates that Riyadh is eager to keep a balance in its foreign policy and diversify its ties,” said Mona A. Almushait, another Shoura Council member.
The Russia-Saudi summit is a milestone event to demonstrate that both countries are set for a much closer relationship. Russia and Saudi Arabia are showing the political will to foster bilateral economic ties, and their potential has yet to be fulfilled, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
The visit will witness a series of joint economic functions that will bring together 200 representatives of Saudi and Russian companies to promote commercial partnerships and relations.
The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) will organize a one-day forum in Moscow on Saudi-Russian investments in cooperation with the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) and the joint Saudi-Russian Council, in the presence of a number of Saudi and Russian ministers, and members of the private sector.

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 15 December 2019

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Madeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Madeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne amadeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Amadeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Madeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Madeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne Amadeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.