Trattoria Luigi

Apr
2010
06

posted by on Reviews

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After a long and rather busy Easter weekend, Monday found me still in my jimmy jams around noon. Keen to capitalise on the great weather, (sans the wind) I bundled My Lovely into the car & went for a joyride around the Peninsula in search of a good lunch spot.

Having not been to Massimo’s Pizza Club yet, I was amped to get in there, however this was one establishment The Concierge could not direct me to, even in his capacity of The Most Connected Person In The Entire World. Something about Pick n Pay, a shopping center and a parking lot indicated that we weren’t going to get there today. No worries, we’d just passed Trattoria Luigi on Main Road, so we decided if not, why not?

So we ambled on in to be greeted by who we believed to be Luigi – an older dude manning the pizza oven in a white t-shirt with rolled up short sleeves, and a smirk that could turn milk. We were (thankfully) intercepted by a friendly waitress who sat us by a window away from Papi of the Pizza oven & his death stares. The restaurant was as one would expect: Italian memorabilia on every available wall space. Ferrari, Salami, Vespa, Pizza, Fiat, Pasta, Vesuvius… It was a cheesy cliché of Italian-ness, complete with red & white checked table cloths. But not the menu! From the moment I opened the menu to the moment I ordered, I pored over all the dishes completely perplexed as to what I would order. I do love a menu that does that! I considered bossing my man into our ordering 3 or 4 starters & thus trying a few different dishes, but I refrained, as he was looking a little worse for wear and thought it wise to not be that girl. I hesitantly settled on a starter of beef carpaccio, whilst My Lovely ordered grilled calamari. I was desperate to try the Melanzane Parmigiana and the mussels (and the buffalo mozzarella, and the bruschetta…) but we’ll save those treats for another day and another blog. Once we’d ordered our starters, chef Antonio Nero appeared at our table, singing Opera loudly & attempted to convince us that Napoli is indeed the best Italian city on the map. Naturally! Turns out Papi of the Pizza oven is not Luigi – Luigi was the restaurant’s founding owner. After the restaurant was sold to Antonio, he decided to retain the name as it had gained a popular local following.

Our starters arrived looking fabulous, and didn’t fail to live up to the praises Antonio had given each dish. My carpaccio was classically gorgeous. Just take a look at this:

 

Hey? Hey? No messing about there, that’s for darn sure. Authentic Parmigiano Reggiano, great quality beef shaved super thin, mushroom wafers, fresh rocket… Not much to it, but it’s what they put in. I go on about quality in, quality out all the time. This is what I’m talking about. I honestly enjoyed paying R70 odd for this starter. As calamari goes, it wasn’t mind-blowing but I definitely wouldn’t walk past it in a bar and not give it a good How’s Your Father. What do you think?

 

We could have done without the big majanga of a lemon in there, a nicely cut wedge would have sufficed. The tubes were tender & well seasoned. I would have appreciated more of an effort with the garnish or a clever accompaniment, but My Lovely wasn’t too fussed & enjoyed it regardless. For main course I fussed over veal Marsala & pizza (I know, right?) and had my mind made up for me when I ordered the veal only to be told that the order of veal hadn’t arrived. Pizza by default, although I wasn’t too disappointed. The prosciutto was of excellent quality & abundant, the pizza base was crispy & salty (just how I like it) and the Neapoletana sauce was chunky & jam-packed with flavour! Such a simple pizza, but it goes back to fewer ingredients with emphasis on the quality thereof. Papi of the Pizza oven, you rock those death stares baby, you’re awesome! My Lovely order a simple Beef Lasagne which had been baked in the pizza oven, and conformed to all the wonderful adjectives I used before. Homemade pasta, meaty Bolognese, cheesy Béchamel, and so on… I do apologize for the shabby state of the image, I was halfway through my first mouthful when I realized that I was there to do a review, which meant a fairly self-explanatory image to accompany it.

 

The restaurant was fairly empty when we arrived, but filled up quickly – as the wind was howling, all tables were seated inside. A large table of 8 was seated next to us, complete with 3 generations of family. Later on an Italian family arrived and as the restaurant was full, Mama and Papa sat the kids at the table next to us whilst they sat around the corner with the other Big People. Rookie error or intentional torment for the other diners? Hmmm, methinks the latter… Four kids under the age of 7 years old sat at their own table and were left to their own devices. Stai scherzando?? Granny from the table of 8 attempted on a number of occasions to turn round & give the unruly kids disapproving glances (she must have been a teacher!) but alas was unsuccessful. When the Bocelli and the scraping together of knife & fork became a group sport and began competing for audio space, I glanced over at My Lovely and made eyes at him. No, not those eyes, you dirty thing! Skaam jou! We got the bill, packed up the food half way through & got the hell outta there. Unfortunately we’re not the kind of folk who are into badly behaved kids, no matter how fabulous the nosh. But oh, how fabulous!

Visit Trattoria Luigi at Homeleigh Place, Main Road, Hout Bay or call 021 790 1702 to make a reservation. I recommend getting in and out as early as you can!

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