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nisthula@khaleejtimes.com Filed on July 29, 2021

There’s nothing more powerful than a mother-daughter duo. Anisia Pienaa and her mother create scrumptious Spanish food at Quiero


About me: After moving to Dubai from South Africa, I realised that I would like to contribute in my own way to this amazing city. I started by enrolling at the Dubai College of Tourism, for an events certificate and a reintroduction into the working world. One year later, I graduated in the middle of a pandemic thinking: “so, what now?”

Our restaurant in Spain was up and running under certain restrictions. From the restaurant’s home of a small city in Spain, Onda, we had incredible feedback. That is when I asked myself ‘why shouldn’t I bring that feeling of home into a city full of expats, for the open-minded residents and citizens that would like to try something new?’. Quiero was created over the phone and video calls with my mother, who I have the privilege to call chef every day.

In August 2020, my mother, Chef Mary, arrived in Dubai, and our journey to set up the company and select a venue began. It was long and arduous, and we eventually choose a venue with no kitchen, in the middle of two great communities — Arabian Ranches and Dubai Hills.

With the location was chosen, the contractors were outsourced, authorisations were approved — five months and a half later we had a finished product that we couldn’t be prouder of. We focus on quality over quantity, so although we’re a small restaurant, we are mighty in our offering.

The secret to great Spanish food: Passion, heart and flavour. Cooking is not just a mundane everyday task in Spain, we care about every dish and you can really taste that in our food.

Favourite dish: Tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette), gazpacho (chilled tomato soup) or delicious Paella (vegetarian, chicken, seafood or mixed) are a few.

The future: We want to become a favourite place for cosy dining, as well as extending Quiero into catering for events or a simple dinner with friends in the comfort of your home when you don’t feel like spending the whole afternoon in the kitchen.

Advice to budding chefs: Be patient, good things come to those who wait. Trust your gut and, like anywhere in the world, the three most important things for a business are: location, location, location.

Nisthula Nagarajan





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