Earlier this year we were spoilt to spend 3 weeks enjoying the delights of Italy… we wined and dined our way around the country and dreamt of a time when we might be able to call the country home! I really was meant to be born Italian!!
When we received an invite to visit an authentic Italian restaurant located in the heart of Cape Town we jumped at the chance to relive our dream trip!
BOCCA is a bustling Italian eatery located a few steps from my office on Bree Street so it was the ideal spot to pop out to for a date with a difference – a mid week lunch with my husband! What a treat. As busy working parents we often find ourselves depleted at the end of the day with not much more to give in terms of time, attention or conversation, so we’ve had to get clever and realised that occasionally taking a slightly longer lunch is a great way to squeeze in a date without the extra expense of paying for childcare… and we’re not too tired to talk! What a win!
BOCCA is an urban Italian experience where restaurateurs Guido and Adnana Brambilla produce authentic Italian food in a beautiful space.
We arrived and enjoyed a short chat with Guido where we learnt about his Acunto pizza oven that is used for far more than just their ever-popular pizzette. At the end of the evening larger cuts of beef, lamb, poultry and pork are slow-roasted overnight for 12 hours and then provide the following day’s meat-driven plates such as the Beef Short-rib slow-cooked in red wine and bay leaves, before being deboned, sliced and flash-roasted to order. Delicious!
We couldn’t resist sampling on authentic Neapolitan pizza made in the imported Italian oven, each pizette is cooked in under 90 seconds at 640°C. Because these are rolled slightly smaller than a traditional pizza – roughly 25cm across – they allow diners to discover different plates and flavours by ordering more than 1. The pizza dough is naturally fermented and the crust is fluffy yet chewy – a real taste of Italy!
Guido is passionate about simple, fresh flavours and is very excited about the quality of local produce he finds in Cape Town – always choosing authenticity and freshness above all else when selecting ingredients.
His flavours are simple, yet delicious. At BOCCA the menu is designed as a selection of dishes with an accent on sharing. Inspired by the classic traditions of Italy plates are created in smaller portions of food, in order to offer a culinary experience of different flavours in the same meal in true Italian-style abundance.
We sampled the Amatriciana pizza made with tomato sauce, mozarella, cured pork guanciale, roasted cherry tomatoes and pecorino cheese.
We didn’t want to miss out on Italian pasta so we tried the Truffle Carbonara made with Rummo pasta (“the best 100% durum wheat pasta you can get in South Africa”).
We continued our taste tour of Italian with their 12 Hour Slow-Roast lamb and a traditional Sicilian side dish of Caponata which contains egg plant, bell peppers, olives, pine nuts, basil, crostino, and cacioricotta cheese – recommended!
For summer there will be a new focus on seafood on their revamped menu, with Guido blending local produce with Italian inspiration. In the ‘BITES’ selection of small-plates Guido pays tribute to a long tradition of raw seafood in Italian cuisine, bringing Puglia to the Cape Peninsula in his Fish Tartare of ‘Western Cape waters catch’
If it’s light bites you’re after, the new cheese and charcuterie platters are ideal, and a perfect pairing for the after-work cocktails and aperitivos BOCCA has become famous for.
The latest addition to the pasta selection is the Pasta alla Norma, a classic of Sicilian cuisine fusing eggplant, tomato and garlic with silky cacioricotta cheese.
To finish? Always a little dolce of course! Italian desserts are sublime and I’m never one to turn down a Tiramisu… or a Chocolate Mousse – so we tried one of each! And both were sublime.
Alongside the bustling kitchen is the vibrant bar area where, inspired by the Milanese tradition of Aperitivo, locals and tourists can stop by for signature cocktails, craft beer, or a glass of wine from the curated selection of local boutique estates.
A visit to BOCCA will transport you through flavour to the various regions and traditional cuisines of the Italians – by an Italian. Surely the second best option for an Italophile like me!
BOCCA is open for lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday from noon until 22h00. Last orders are taken at 21h30.
Tel: 021 422 0188