King Salman, Hollande discuss regional issues

Updated 05 May 2015

King Salman, Hollande discuss regional issues

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman met with French President Francois Hollande here on Monday and discussed the conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Libya besides other bilateral and regional issues. Later, the king hosted a banquet in honor of Hollande, who will attend the GCC consultative summit as guest of honor here on Tuesday.
“King Salman and French President Hollande, in their wide-ranging talks, reaffirmed their mutual commitment to close defense, security, and commercial cooperation,” said a diplomatic source after the talks. France, a close ally of the Kingdom, has been supporting the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, he added.
He said that the two leaders discussed the ways and means to ensure peace and security in the Middle East. They focused on the simmering crisis in Yemen and the possible Iranian nuclear deal by the end of June. Saudi Arabia and the GCC member states fear that the deal and the subsequent relief in sanctions could further embolden Iran, which has been meddling in the affairs of the Arab world, particularly in the affairs of the GCC.
Asked about the specifics of the talks, he said that “the two countries have found commonalities on all bilateral and regional issues.” He, however, could not provide specifics of the discussions.
Hollande, who is seeking to strengthen security, political and business ties with the Gulf states, also visited Qatar on Monday before landing in Saudi Arabia.
On Yemen, Saudi Arabia and France have common positions. They have supported the GCC initiative that calls for holding unity talks in Riyadh between rival political forces of Yemen. The GCC foreign ministers in their meeting recently also insisted that the talks be held in Saudi Arabia, which leads an Arab coalition that has been bombing the rebels in Yemen since late March.
According to the itinerary released by the Elysee Palace, Hollande will visit the historic Diriyah site before attending the GCC consultative summit on Tuesday. He is also expected to hold bilateral meetings with other regional leaders during his visit. The current consultative summit has added significance because this is also the first GCC summit to be attended by King Salman after he became king on Jan. 23.

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.