PEOPLE AND PLACES: Q&A with Annemarie Steenkamp on Bree Street’s Bocca

bocca_int.jpg What’s Bocca about? Good food, a fast pace and vibe. Sitting close to a neighbouring table, or alongside other diners at upstairs counters. The idea is to show up, order drinks, a couple of nibbles or pizza, and then move on.

The food? Small bites are listed under ‘spoons’, ‘fingers’ or ‘knives and forks’, each dish with only two or three components. Plus our Neapolitan tomato-base or white pizzas, which people know from Burrata restaurant.

Guilty pleasure? Milo with cold milk.

Current obsession? Our bull terrier puppy Juisseppi. A guy called Guisseppe booked her, but later took a male puppy. Nick (my partner) and I said it was meant to be. She’s eaten one shoe so far.

Bocca’s décor? Filled with light and quite masculine. Wooden benches and panelling, and a mezzanine level with counters and booths.

Hotel or camping? Hotel. When I was five or six my dad took us camping. Apparently I asked if we’d run out of money and couldn’t afford our house.

Memorable overseas restaurant? The Ledbury in London. In South Africa there’s a similarity to the menus. Overseas, ingredients are just treated differently.

A travel experience gone wrong? After matric I flew to England, but my bags didn’t arrive with me. I went to the Lake District on the Scottish border and started in housekeeping. For a week I had only the clothes I flew in. A bag eventually arrived that wasn’t mine.

coffee.jpg How do you take your coffee? Black, and a lot of it. Often three cups by midday.

What’s hot in food? Restaurants doing something specific. Menus for everyone are falling away.

What don’t people know about you? I like playing Tetris on my phone. You can zone out fitting blocks into spaces.

BOCCA, 51 Wale Street, Cape Town. Tel 021-422-0188, Bocca. Open for lunch and dinner on Monday to Saturday.

A shortened variation of this appeared in The Times on 5 November 2014.

Also see Why Bocca is my go-to spot for pizza and small bites