Culinary paradiso

2012-05-11 11:18

I had to have more of that bread, chewy, with an elastic consistency so rare in the characterless store-bought stuff that is so often served up at restaurants too.

Café Paradiso, tucked at the top of Cape Town’s snaking Kloof Street, has an on-site bakery and the bakers are up early every day to make a variety of breads and pastries to lure their patrons off diets – real or imagined.

And the bread wasn’t the only reason I had four slices – the kitchen staff churn their own butter too.

Creamy and true butter yellow that is a taste gulf away from the oversalted stuff on the supermarket shelves.

It was just too more-ish.

I slopped up all the cheese, salami, pickles and caper berries on my starter platter, before surreptitiously dunking more bread in my lunch companion’s delectable pea soup.

She was very gracious about sharing and considering how tasty it was, I might have been more selfish had it been my portion.

Next up was another item that the 30-strong kitchen staff, under the direction of chef Warren Carney, make fresh every day – pasta.

Every morning the staff drape a section of the eatery in a covering of fresh ribbons of pasta using a monster of a machine that is a rare beast in any kitchen.

While my companion tucked into linguine, I had the gnocchi, also handmade earlier?– I could tell from its light fluffy consistency and the trademark un-uniform look of the pieces.

The gnocchi was coated in a rich tomato sauce with lashings of garlic and parsley.

It was the red so often referred to as “tomato red”.

With more olive oil to give it that glossy sheen of decadence, it felt like the kind of food someone’s Italian mama might whip up for Sunday supper.

We ended with a trio of cakes – regulars like chocolate, lemon meringue and pecan – but all were far above average and I did regret all that bread as I just couldn’t shoehorn in all that cake.

The food and ambience of the place – housed in a lovely old house with all the wooden, high ceilinged trappings of its era – is beyond dispute.

The service too was snappy, though that could have been because we were guests of the restaurant.

However, for me the biggest drawcard of all was that the restaurant caters for families – properly.

In winter they host story time around the big fire for the children while the adults eat in peace.

There is also baking and pizza making in the kitchen for the same purpose.

This is what would take me back more often – after all, just because people have children doesn’t mean they suddenly want to eat Spur burgers.

»? Café Paradiso is at 110 Kloof Street in Cape Town 0?021?423?8653

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