Friday, 19 April 2019

Restaurant revives Italian menu under new manager

A RIVERSIDE restaurant is to revert to serving Italian cuisine, writes James Burton.

Don Giovanni at the Leatherne Bottel, off Spring Lane, Goring, will open at lunchtime on Sunday, serving an afternoon buffet and taking donations to charity.

The business will be managed by Erasmo Santelia, 28, under the guidance of his father Antonio, 57, who owns the Rossini Italian restaurant in Wokingham.

It was previously run as Rossini at the Leatherne Bottel by Maurizio Vajana, a former business partner, but shut last summer.

Sally Albin, who had worked for the business as a marketing and IT consultant, took over in July and changed the menu to mostly British food but then closed the restaurant in November. Sir John Madejski, the Reading FC co-chairman who owns the building, asked Mr Santelia Snr if he wished to take over and he accepted.

His son, who was managing a restaurant in Italy, flew home to help. Mr Santelia jnr is now living at the premises and has spent weeks refurbishing it. The restaurant will serve dishes from the Amalfi coast, where his father is from, and will have an outdoor cocktail bar. It will have six kitchen staff initially and six more working front of house.

Mr Santelia Jnr said: “Dad was born in the restaurant trade and I’ve been his pupil all my life. We have a really close relationship and I’m determined to make him proud.

“I was attracted by the huge potential of the business and I’m very familiar with Goring — it’s an absolutely beautiful village.

“It has been a lot of hard work with plenty of late nights but everything’s going well.

“We want guests to feel like they’re being welcomed into someone’s home. The previous owners wanted to make it high-class and, while we certainly don’t want to bring it down, we don’t want people to feel intimidated as it will be very relaxed.”

Mr Santelia Snr said: “I’m pleased to be here in Goring and delighted that Erasmo is taking charge as he is very capable.”

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