Holidays, for me, mean food. My family likes to eat meals out in restaurants relatively often during the holidays so I get to try a mosaic of flavours. However, my gran likes to be one of “the regulars” and she has been staying with us for the past few months. This is what has gotten me thinking about the system we can fall in to with the food service industry.
There are so many restaurants that I’ve been to where the food is – in actuality – really mediocre. I’m not saying that all restaurants have to be worthy of Marco Pierre White’s scrutiny, but they should at least try to cook their food so that I don’t think, “Well, I could make this at home”. I have been to breakfast spots where the only difference between the restaurant’s cooking and my own home cooking is that they had bacon in their fridge. But what is most remarkable is how so many people don’t notice this and have accepted that some restaurants are just like this. My delusion was recently shattered.
I visited an Italian deli a few days ago that reminded me of the purpose of restaurants. Looking at the board of daily specials, I couldn’t decide between the napoletana pasta or pesto pasta but luckily, I found out that one of the other specials – primavera pasta – is a combination of the two. My first bite filled me with such a blissful feeling. I truly felt that I was eating a homemade bowl of pasta in a cosy kitchen in Italy. The deli is owned by an Italian family and this shines through in their food. The recipes must have been passed down generations; nurtured and adapted. After I finished the last mouthful of warming spaghetti, my mother insisted we order dessert. The tiramisu was rich and creamy, packed with the perfect traditional, coffee flavour. Walking out, I knew that I would never be able to make that at home. It felt worth it. I was happy.
This restaurant was Super Sconto. It is on top and a part of a grocery shop filled with authentic Italian food like pastas, sauces and desserts. It is located at Tirren House, Corner 5th Street, 169-171 Louis Botha Ave, Orange Grove, Johannesburg. The deli has a wide selection of cheeses and cold meats that you can choose to fill your sandwich with as well as a changing daily special menu with warm meals like pasta and pizza.
There are a few other restaurants that I’ve been to that are also truly worth the visit due to their authenticity of flavour. These include an Indian restaurant, Thava [The Gardens, Johannesburg], a thai restaurant, 2Thai4 [Illovo, Johannesburg], and the African, eclectic Milk Bar [Rosebank, Johannesburg]. I may review these restaurants further in the future because they are among my favourites and they know how to give a dish – to quote Matt Preston – bags of flavour.