From the moment you enter into the world of Sciacca, be it the Paceville or Valletta restaurant, there’s that undeniable sense of authenticity and genuineness. Founder and owner, Noel Zammit has always had that innate passion for anything with an affinity to the culinary world. Over time, his interest in the catering industry grew stronger. Needless to say, he wanted to build a more solid relationship with gastronomy. To do this he decided to invest time and money in what he had the most passion for: food. And thus, his journey into becoming a restaurateur began…
Modest beginnings: the inspiration behind Sciacca
Noel’s love for food began at a very tender age. He used to enjoy watching his mother cook, observing her traditional approach and perhaps, even mischievously ‘stealing’ her recipes. But of course, it didn’t stop there. From as early as 16 years of age, Noel made it a point to be a regular restaurant goer to many local establishments. Indeed, like clockwork, he made sure to jot down his weekly restaurant bookings into his already increasingly busy schedule.
Each Sunday of every week presented Noel the opportunity to enter into a new environment: a different atmosphere, with a novel menu that displayed a smorgasbord of food, some of which he devoured with gusto, others he refused with abhorrence. Of course, like every restaurant goer, there were always those couple of places that he thought deserved a repeat visit, simply because they encapsulated what he looked for when it comes to the catering sector: good service coupled with honest, hearty food.
Eventually, after borrowing and adapting ideas from his family members and friends, Noel quickly became enthused with the idea of cooking and hosting for entertainment purposes. As time passed, he started learning more about different styles of cooking through his extensive travels, noting and absorbing different culinary techniques and practising them at home. In due course, he started sharing his emergent skills when inviting loved ones at home, sometimes hosting luncheons for up to 30 people. It was at this moment Noel began to feel like he was completely in his element.
A restaurant’s vision materialised into a reality
Although he had been dreaming about owning his own restaurant for more than a couple of decades, it was only until seven years ago Noel’s dream finally turned into a reality. Obviously, once he tasted the fulfillment that came along with running his very own restaurants, he knew it was something that was ingrained in the fabric of his being.
Indubitably, having his own restaurant was a lifelong dream, and once the opportunity arose, Noel opened his first eatery which was christened Sciacca Arte Nel Cibo located in St Julian’s. An establishment with a Sicilian twist and flavour concept that focused on the catch of the day and fresh wild fish. Unsurprisingly, it did very well. So, it was no wonder that four years down the line, Noel decided to open another restaurant with its namesake. This time Sciacca Grill in Valletta focused on superior quality meat cuts.
The concept of the grill came about after travelling for some years to Italy and after witnessing how some restaurants cooked with a special combination of wood and charcoal on an open fire. Of course, Noel was inspired by the idea and wanted to try this novel concept in Malta. Having an open kitchen with a chef cooking on wood and a flame of fire undoubtedly creates a unique atmosphere.
Apart from the spectacle element, Sciacca also provides the added bonus of allowing its clientele to choose their food. It’s also noteworthy to point out that Sciacca was the first restaurant in Malta that implemented such a concept, and it did so in a well-executed manner. Three years later, after the success of Sciacca, Noel soon decided to refurbish Sciacca Arte Nel Cibo with the same concept as Sciacca Grill in Valletta, with the addition of a lobster tank and fresh fish, hence an enhanced visual element was added to the original eatery.
Sciacca’s recipe for success
In a nutshell, the secret to Sciacca’s success is very humble in its simplicity: making use of fresh and genuine products. It’s all about letting the food speak for itself, because a great dish shouldn’t be overpowered with over the top garnishes or a cacophony of ingredients. When looking at Sciacca’s dishes, you can forget about unnecessary garnishes and over-embellished plate decorations. Simplicity is key, because ultimately, it’s all about making the food the star of the dish.
Apart from freshness and genuine ingredients, Sciacca prides itself in having chefs that are constantly experimenting in the kitchen, striving for innovation, because to them, there’s always room for improvement and if there’s something that could be better, it’s a safe bet that they’ll make sure it will be an augmented version of their original idea. Through their creativity and imagination, Sciacca’s culinary mavens make sure each meal that’s served from their kitchen represents what the restaurant’s trademark is all about.
Noel was always interested in the food industry as he felt it was something that was deeply instilled in him ever since he was a child. Thus, he ultimately decided to take the plunge after years of serious contemplation. Starting a business comes with its fair share of challenges, and of course going into an already booming Food and Beverage industry is an even bigger risk, because there’s no in between: you either sink or swim. But what is life without risks? Cliché as it may sound, to fulfill one’s dreams, one must forget about remaining in their comfort zone. Noel’s only regret is not having started his business venture sooner. Basically, the main inspiration behind both of Sciacca’s restaurants is plain and simple: a passion for good quality food!
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this brief history about Sciacca as much as we’ve enjoyed reminiscing on our inception. If you’d like to come and have a taster of the fruits of our labour and relish the essence of our culinary creations, we encourage you to book a table at Sciacca. We work tirelessly to invent dishes that truly personify Sciacca’s brand.