For someone who is very shy and reserved, I am aiming for the wrong industry, because networking is key for advancement in this industry. But as the saying goes, closed mouths don’t get fed.
At the Johannesburg Street Food Festival that occurred 3 weeks ago I tried my hand out at networking and it landed me an invite to a menu tasting. Bottega Café in Parkhurst opened in June 2006 and has since grown into a fine establishment. They are open for breakfast, lunch & dinner, and from their intimate table seating to their chalkboard menu, Bottega is a gem in the heart of Johannesburg North. I had never dined at the establishment before hence I was super excited to try out their new menu. The verdict? I was blown away. I ate until I couldn’t eat anymore…and then some!
Here’s a quick run through of the menu
FRIED RAVIOLI & FRIED MUSHROOMS
Served with a cheese and paprika dipping sauce. Anything that’s fried with cheese is a winner, what more can I say? Personally I found myself leaning more towards the fried mushrooms than the ravioli but both are great.
PARMA HAM, GORGONZOLA DOLCE, FIG AND ROCKET BRUSCHETTA
Any Italian menu must have Bruschetta on it! The thinly sliced Parma Ham with the fresh rocket, slightly drizzled with their signature Shiraz sauce, was commendable.
I have never thought to pair beetroot with strawberries. The pairing seems odd but works amazingly well. The sweetness of the strawberries compliments the tartness of the thinly sliced beetroots perfectly.
Not being a fan of raw fish, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the Tuna Tartar but after my first bite, I changed my mind completely. It had a hint of wasabi, that in addition to the guacamole, made for a perfect bite. It’s light and refreshing.
CAULIFLOWER & BEAN PATTIES
I had to ask the chef what the above creation was because I couldn’t identify with the taste and texture of what I was eating. He then explained that it was a cauliflower and bean Pattie served with Porcini Mushrooms. I thoroughly enjoyed this.
(From Left to Right)
Penne Raymondo – Vegetarian Pasta with artichokes, roasted peppers, black olives, zucchini, capers, mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes. Topped with truffle oil.
Linguine with Crab and Rocket – My favourite out of the trio
Fusilli Alla Nonna – A family recipe made with luganica, an Italian Sausage. Cooked in red wine and finished off with ricotta and a touch of chilli.
DUCK BREAST WITH SHIRAZ SAUCE
For the entrees we had a choice between beef fillet and duck breast. It was a no brainer. I don’t eat duck normally so I’ll take it when I can get it. The duck breast was tender, served with velvety smooth mashed potatoes and their signature Shiraz sauce. In addition there were pomegranate seeds scattered on top that released refreshing bursts of flavour when they popped in your mouth. My only qualm was I wished the duck breast was served whole. I like to see my meat in its entirety and not in bite sized pieces.
CLASSIC PANNA COTTA
Classic Vanilla Panna Cotta with their Shiraz sauce. I’m not a die hard for Panna Cotta, so I don’t have much to say about this dish in particular. Essentially it was a little stodgier than I’d like but smooth and light none the less. That Shiraz sauce was also a nice addition.
WHEAT FREE CHCOLATE CAKE
THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY NIGHT! They definitely saved the best for last. I don’t have a sweet tooth, (well I actually lost my sweet tooth due to the copious amounts of Tequila I consumed in my varsity days ) and so I hardly ever indulge in cakes and the like. I thought I’d have a bite, enough to savour it but not enough to make me sick… Lo and behold, I polished the entire slice! It was the most delicious and decadent chocolate cake I’ve had in my entire life. Moist and not too sweet plus perfectly paired with red wine.
I’ll definitely be going back to Bottega based on this experience. You can find them on Facebook & Instagram – Bottega Café – Parkhurst. Twitter – @BottegaParkH & Bottega13