Some of South Africa’s top restaurants are located at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock. The Test Kitchen and Pot Luck Club of course.
And, offering an altogether different eating and drinking experience, Burrata. One of my go-to dining spots for modern Italian dining: comforting yet skilled; offering a twist when it comes to flavour combinations.
The new winter menu has plenty to see you through from autumn’s nippiness to spring.
To start, a few items from the antipasti section are best shared between two or three. Worth having is the fried cauliflower pops which you dab with pesto, spicy lamb meatballs on a bed of quinoa, and Sicilian caponata, aubergine and tomato given a crunchy lift with bites of fried capers. Flavours are simple: a pesto of artichoke and spinach works a treat on a slice of pizza flatbread.
Main courses include a few creative fish and steak items, but our group stuck to pasta and risotto options. No regrets. A Burrata signature is back for good reason: a Parmesan risotto has pliable bite melding with umami creaminess, dotted with plump marrow bone insides. Preserved lemon for added delicious.
Exec chef Annemarie Robertson says the secret to all Burrata risottos is starting with a ‘stock’ of caramelised Parmesan rinds, onion and garlic. I love the idea of using up the end of this cheese and imparting lovely saltiness.
Some new winter recommendations
- Rigatoni pasta with slow-braised springbok shank. Brown onions and a meaty jus gives this dish classic flavour depth, and serving it with kale brings it very much into 2016.
- Ravioli (large ones) filled with some sort of squash, finished with sweetcorn sliced off the cob, and a gentle smoked paprika and lighter-weight red pepper sauce, offering fresh vibrancy and plenty to interest if you’re in a vegetarian mood.
- Spaghetti, unusually served with velvet strands of pulled pork, in an intense tomato and wine sugo. Parmesan crisps add an extra element.
On the wine list
Sommelier-owner Neil Grant’s list favours South African brands plus a few French and Italian labels, should they be of interest. Just ask to try something different …
Grant has brought out a joint label at his three restaurants, aptly named In Cahoots with a tandem bicycle on the label. His wine partner is Chardonnay specialist winemaker Richard Kershaw. It’s everything you’d want in a fuller-style Chardonnay, and well worth it for R280 a bottle.
Desserts to try
Sweet selections are small yet focused. They move with the season into heavier territory.
- A hazelnut panna cotta tastes almost cocoa-like (it’s also the colour of pale chocolate) but works well as a pudding eaten all together, with a sprinkle of hazelnuts, fresh fig and fig gelato.
- My favourite, creamy lime zabaglione, served with a zesty winter citrus salad of assorted grapefruit and orange, and raspberry sorbet. After good wine and the heavier weight of winter food, it’s the ideal finish on a note of lightness.
BURRATA, The Old Biscuit Mill, Albert Road, Woodstock.
Open Tues to Sat for lunch and dinner. Tel 021-447-6505, Burrata