Trying out my new restaurant guide! – Mezzaluna
One of my christmas presents was a Roussouw’s restaurants guide for 2011. It seems like a nice little book – perfect to keep in your bag for impromptu lunch or to see if somewhere which looks good is really worth the price! So to try it out, I chose a place for me and several of the girls from oceanography to enjoy a meal out. I decided to go for one of the best value list – those which have rated as 2 or more (out of 3) stars and cost less than R150 per person for an average meal. Mezzaluna – an italian restaurant seemed like something that would please everyone.
We arrived to find Lauren chatting to some friends who informed us that sat on the table behind was none other than JP Roussouw…i.e. the writer of my restaurant guide! We didn’t want to bother him during his dinner, but I’d be shocked if he hadn’t noticed our girly squeals of excitement and not so sneaky plans to accost him for his autograph! We figured at this point we were on to a winner and we weren’t to be proven wrong!
Situated on Loop Street in the city centre, Mezzaluna has large floor to ceiling windows and typically italian, simple and stylish decor – including many of the semi circular knives which share the restaurants name. The menu is simple – delightfully so, with 5 or so starters (antipasti) then a range of pastas, secondi and a small but varied list of desserts. To drink we were recommended the Tamboerskloof Viognier which was lovely and matched fairly well with the variety of food we chose. Knowing the usual italian problems with portion control, and desperate to have room to try some of the home made pasta, we opted to share 2 starters – Octopus carpaccio and eggplant parmigiana. Both were delicious although I have to deal with some guilt eating octopus – having dived with these delightful creatures, I’ve decided they look better swimming free than on my plate. The eggplant was divine – rich in both tomato and herb flavours – I could have eaten a large portion of this with salad quite happily. We all chose pasta for mains – 2 gnocchi dishes (one with a pesto sauce, the other a special with pumpkin), 1 tortellini special stuffed with pumpkin and 1 sea urchin spaghetti – a dish the restaurant is somewhat famous for. After trying them all it was difficult to decide which was the best! All the pasta itself was perfect – especially the gnocchi which are a personal favourite (although I guess not really pasta!) and went perfectly with the strong basil pesto. Thankfully all dishes were lightly dressed, I particularly dislike pasta swimming it sauce – this unfortunately ruined my experience at another CT italian restaurant (Basilico). The sea urchin pasta had the most amazing flavour, and was so lightly dressed you couldn’t even tell where it was coming from – a truly outstanding dish. The gnocchi and the tortellini di zucca (with pumpkin) were both very nice, although I think the gnocchi took away slightly from the rich pumpkin flavour which was better experienced in the tortellini. After the resounding approval of the main courses, we decided we had to have 4 desserts! Panna cotta with berries came out as a firm favourite of the ones we chose, closely followed by the tiramisu, orange and cinnamon baked cheesecake and a flourless chocolate and almond cake.
The service all night was impeccable with a waiter in attendance and head chef/host (I presume he was the Jimmy who Roussouw mentions) discussing the menu with us, recommending wine and even walking us to our car afterwards. A really wonderful evening, Mezzaluna is fully deserving of the 2 and a half stars Roussouw awards it. I just hope he wont be put off eating there after Lauren chased him out of the restaurant to get my book signed…thanks La 🙂
Mezzaluna: 7/10 – Excellent service, casual eating and good prices. I will definitely go back on a regular basis.