There’s nothing like the majesty of food produced using simple everyday ingredients. I place Italian food in this category and Little Eataly certainly did not disappoint.
Whenever I think back to my days in junior school, few of my memories don’t involve Michaela. The two of us were best friends, spending the night at each other’s houses, joining all the same afternoon activities and often getting into trouble for slinking out of class together. When we weren’t outside playing with her dog Pandy or discussing the merits of our idols Britney Spears and Beyoncé, I’d sneak off to the kitchen where I’d watch the stove intently, taking in all the glorious aromas and counting the hours till dinner. My first encounter with authentic Italian cuisine was in her house and I’ve never forgotten it. Her mother’s simple dish of spaghetti and ragu left a serious impression and my love for Italian food has followed me ever since.
Because that first experience was so unforgettable, I tend to be a little picky when it comes to ordering Italian dishes. You can understand why, when I came across Little Eataly, I approached with excitement and the slightest hesitance. The restaurant itself is set in a beautiful Cape Dutch style house opposite the University of Zimbabwe, with an inviting interior and cozy garden.
Upon arrival, we were led through a busy dining room to another, occupied only by ourselves and another table of four. Ours was a comfortable and peaceful corner and we were soon given the menu to have a look through. Although it wasn’t as expansive as some I’ve come across, the promise of fresh-made pasta coupled with the glorious aromas from the kitchen made this completely immaterial. The starter was a board of sorts that came as a mosaic of what I’d describe as typical Italian offerings including salami, soft bread with generous layers of basil and olive pesto, bruschetta and prosciutto to name a few. The flavours were impeccable and a great start to the evening.
As Little Eately is an Italian restaurant, I thought it’d be a shame not to sample one of their pasta dishes. I opted for meat ravioli in a beef ragu while my sister chose a creamy dish of tagliatelle, bacon and broccoli. The ravioli were perfectly done and the ragu was just as I like it with tender minced beef and the sweet tang I’ve come to associate with tomato based dishes. Although I’m not usually a fan of creamy pasta, the tagliatelle was perfectly seasoned with the bacon enhancing what was already a delicious sauce. I’d gladly have ordered it for myself.
As fantastic as the first two courses were, my choice of dessert was not as exciting as I’d have liked. The Magic Cake caught my eye and while the idea and method of creation was fascinating (three distinct layers of different texture are formed as it bakes), the actual cake itself failed to create the same impression that the starter and main had. However, the day was saved by a warm cup of their unique brand of hot chocolate. What we initially ordered as a drink to ward off the cool and rainy December night, turned out to be a mug of gorgeously decadent chocolate. As a self-proclaimed chocolate lover, I was in heaven and could not have asked for anything more. Special mention should be made of the chocolate tart, which would satisfy any chocolate lover’s desire.
There’s nothing as delightful as the majesty of food produced using simple everyday ingredients. I place Italian food in this category and Little Eataly certainly did not disappoint.