Carna by Dario Cecchini, located on the 74th floor at SLS Dubai Hotel & Residences, is the world-famous butcher’s very first dining concept in the region and second globally, following the success the first Carna at SLS Baha Mar.
Carna was conceptualised and created by Cecchini, the award-winning eighth-generation butcher, hailing from the village of Panzano in the Chianti region of Tuscany, Italy. Upon taking over his father’s business, Dario discovered his life-long mission – to protect the art of butchery due to his profound belief that all cuts of meat can and must be utilised when cooked properly – thus eliminating waste and promoting sustainability. This artistic ritual and authentic craftsmanship of meat has been passed down through generations and is celebrated as the heart of Carna. As a butcher for over 43 years, Cecchini was taught that one piece of meat can be used in many ways.
SLS is a very unique hotel; how does the concept of Carna fit the property’s character and themes?
Carna is an amazing restaurant, within an amazing hotel. It has style, it has class, it has amazing quality, just like throughout the entire beautiful building. And so, I think it fits in very well at the seventy fourth floor under the pool, where we have our grill lit with lots of great meat over the fire, and not just that.
Why have you chosen a Dubai property and what has attracted you to the market?
The reason I chose Dubai was curiosity, my curiosity to have a new experience. I feel great ‘sympatico’ – energy in Dubai. From the very first day of our inauguration, I felt a wonderful, positive energy in Dubai.
Tell us more about sustainability and how you ensure that your restaurant is good to the planet.
I have great respect for all peoples’ personal choices. I come from Tuscany, the land of the Renaissance, where the most important thing is free thinking. I personally am a natural carnivore.
I come from a family of eight generations of butchers passed on from father to son. And, for me, if somebody has a different idea, they have all my respect, as I hope they will have respect towards me.
In how many ways can a piece of meat be cooked? Tell us about some of them…
We can braise, roast, and we can grill a meat dish – there are hundreds of ways to cook meat.
What are some of the menu highlights?
It really boils down to the amazing quality of our ingredients, from the meats to the Cecchini olive oil direct from Italy and the Profumo di Chianti, my special herb salt, created personally by me here in Panzano that the kitchen is using. And as I said, the meat of incredible quality together with this amazing quality oil and my herb salt, I think this, together with the amazing array of wines on the wine list, are all highlights of our menu.
How do you plan on bringing something different to the market and what is coming up?
We’re not setting out to bring anything extravagant to the market. What we want is for our guests at Carna to have a wonderful experience. Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, in his book The Physiology of Taste (Physiologie du Goût) once said, “when you have a guest under your roof, you have to take care of them, not only by serving them good food, but also you must take care of all of their happiness.” I want happy people, who take away the feeling of having had a wonderful experience with us.