Boteco Do Brasil celebrates tenth birthday with weekend-long fiesta

 Italian entrepreneur, Luigi Aseni, is still breaking the mould

Luigi Aseni launched the first Boteco Do Brasil ten years ago in Glasgow

By Catherine Sheridan

LIFE has quite literally come full circle for Luigi Aseni since he moved to Glasgow at the turn of the millennium.

The Italian entrepreneur, who describes himself as the ‘vintage Deliveroo’ having delivered goods by bike from his parents’ deli in his hometown in southern Italy in the 1980s, relocated to Glasgow in 2003 and got his first job in the city’s Stavka bar, restaurant and club; the Sauchiehall Street venue would later become the location of Luigi’s own eatery and bar, Mango.

He is now the director of family-run business, Rumba Kazz Ltd, which, along with Mango, counts Italian restaurant Piccolino in Edinburgh and Boteco Do Brasil venues in Edinburgh and Glasgow in its portfolio.

And it is the Glasgow Boteco Do Brasil that’s in the spotlight this month as Luigi and the team marks the venue’s tenth birthday with a weekend-long fiesta featuring Brazilian samba dancers and live music.

Speaking to SLTN, Luigi said the Trongate area has changed hugely since he opened the venue on January 18, 2010.

“I’d say the years 2009 and 2010 were the beginning of a new chapter for Glasgow’s east end,” he said.

“The area was already very multicultural and there were a lot of Italian eateries opening up, so I wanted to bring something different to the area. Between ourselves and Maggie Mays, we did an amazing job bringing the area alive.”

Luigi said the 120-cover venue is friendly and outgoing, which he reckons complements the easy-going nature of Glaswegians. Its menu is a “home away from home”, showcasing the best of Brazilian cuisine; and it hosts a range of events, including live entertainment, salsa classes and open mic nights.

The Glasgow venue is our hub of the business; every concept has been trailed and tested here and we are proud of where we are.

“From day one we tried to stay away from the stereotypical Brazilian restaurant that you can find worldwide – la churrascaria,” said Luigi.

“Brazil is well known for meat and fish BBQs, but you can find more tropical ingredients and flavours, such as coconut milk and coriander in the north of the country.

“We set out to give people the opportunity to be themselves with no boundaries. Boteco, from day one, has welcomed everyone. I carried out a lot of research to find out which parts of Brazilian culture would appeal to the Scottish public and looked at how the media portrayed the country – carnival, football, beach resorts – and those were the ingredients we used to grow the business.”

And expansion followed soon after, with the Edinburgh Boteco Do Brasil opening in October 2013.

“The concept in both locations is the same but our customer base is quite different, as the Edinburgh venue is located a stone’s throw away from the University of Edinburgh so we attract a lot of students, but in Glasgow we have a mix of ages,” said Luigi.

“I bought the [Glasgow] venue from Colin [Beattie] in 2017 and that was another massive achievement for us at Boteco. I put all of my soul, time and effort into the place and it was a great feeling to finally own the property.

“The Glasgow venue is our hub of the business; every concept has been trailed and tested here and we are proud of where we are.”