Antonino Cardillo, General Manager at The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah, on how Vinesse Restaurant set in a glass pavilion that appears to float on the surrounding water feels like a dream.

Explain the design concept of the Vinesse, which is set in a glass pavilion that appears to float on the surrounding water.

Vinesse, an elegant all-day dining restaurant, is housed on a faux glass island and serves excellent world food all day. The attached bar serves exquisitely crafted cocktails and a wide range of spirits and single malts.

Set in a glass pavilion that appears to float on the surrounding water, the all-day dining restaurant serves fine international cuisines crafted in open show kitchens and finished table-side by Oberoi chefs. The eclectic menu serves fresh takes on dishes from cuisines around the world, from the freshest sushi to salads and mezze, Indian specialties, to charcoal grilled meats, all made from locally sourced ingredients. Dine indoors or al fresco beside uninterrupted ocean views.

Antonino Cardillo

What inspired the design and décor choices in Vinesse restaurant? Can you describe any unique or innovative design features in Vinesse restaurant that differentiate it from other dining establishments?

As designed by Piero Lissoni, the project appears simple but is actually complex. Lissoni is architect, art director and designer and is recognised as one of the masters of contemporary design.

Every detail was examined in order to be both sustainable and respectful to the surrounding area and natural surroundings. The peculiar ambiance of this magnificent place inspired Lissoni. The design is beautiful while retaining a strong sensitivity to the area’s natural beauty and capturing the scents of the Arabian Gulf mingled with those of a tropical mangrove forest.

The interior design is based on sophisticated simplicity and openness. The use of large, transparent openings and slatted wood partitions allow the eye to travel freely to the distant horizon. In true Italian style, the modern architecture blends multiple influences such as the perfumes of the Orient, the flavours of India, and spices arriving from the Occident, Africa, and China. As an architect and a designer, Lissoni personally curated all objects, rugs, photographs, and sofas, to ensure that there was no intrusive furniture, so as not to interrupt the sense of seamless transparency between the rooms and the surrounding landscape. Lissoni has a penchant for hybridisation, the perfection of the imperfect, and unlikely combinations of textures and colours that are not too controlled. He calls this a fondness for a “genuine sense of alchemy” where many things appear to happen by chance.

Handpicked artefacts adorn the restaurant like the guardian lions statues that are often referred by a multitude of names such as: “Fu Dogs”, “Foo Dogs”, “Fu Lions”, “Fo Lions” at the dining area. Romina Ressia artwork covers the wall in the Vinesse Bar. She is recognised for pioneering the use of anachronisms applied to images of strong Renaissance influence combined with contemporary objects.

What are the restaurant’s highly recommended dishes and beverages?

All menus are healthy and balanced. Dishes are made using locally sourced produce which is prepared by using authentic methods from around the world.

The attached bar has an aura of the pre-prohibition, Golden Age of cocktails. The menu includes classic cocktails, international fine wines, and premium spirits. The bar also has a wide choice of single malts and Cuban cigars. Vinesse is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The bar is open from 11:00 to 23:00.

Vinesse offers a cornucopia of culinary delights, from the highly recommended, vibrant seaweed salad bursting with flavors, featuring edamame, soy sprouts, avocado, spring onions, sesame, and drizzled with a tantalising sweet chili sauce. Or the wide array of premium meats prepared using the Josper grill, combining smokey flavours and oven baked induction to produce complexly flavoured perfectly cooked meats. The prime tenderloin, Turkish meat platter and the Australian lamp chops are some of the popular dishes from the meat selection. The must try Indian fare at Vinesse range from the rich Butter chicken, to the assortment of tandoori kebabs in the tikka platter or the selection of Awadhi Dum Biryanis. Vinesse also offers unique tasting experiences like the mussel’s pot which is an indulgent assortment of Dutch mussels, cooked to perfection in different ways or the Indian Thali, which can be described as a gastronomic journey exploring the culinary diversity that the country has to offer. End your meal on a sweet note with the signature Toffee pudding.

How does the design of Vinesse restaurant align with the overall brand image and identity of The Oberoi Beach Resort Al Zorah?

The resort has been conceived in pure white, with touches of teal, chartreuse, blue, green, and red. Patterned wall tiles in the rooms and dining areas add a playful touch to the elegant design. The resort is divided into three white platform structures that sit parallel to the ocean. Each building was carefully positioned in accordance with the purpose it is meant to serve. The platforms rise from the oceanfront and the height of the buildings increases with each platform, which preserves uninterrupted views of the ocean from all areas of the resort.

The main hotel consists of a set of separate buildings connected by light walkways, punctuated by shallow water pools extending over the inner courtyard that is also the home to Vinesse. The cladding of the outer wood panels complements the wooden furnishings inside, and creates an enchanting play of light and shadow as the suns sets and day gives way to night.