A culinary feast that heralded a change of season kept guests asking for more at a special chef’s table at Zio La Famiglia in Hyde Park.
Owner Alessandro Khojane, who also owns Gimelli in Bryanston, is an African Italian with a love of family and good food.
Khojane is described as a Sotho man who was raised in Rome and found his way back to South Africa, bringing a touch of Italy to South African palates.
Young head chef Caitlin Drake has a passion for food that is palpable.
The eatery draws people from the neighbourhood as well as diners who come from far for the food, the atmosphere of welcoming warmth and the hospitality of home.
The renowned Italian family bistro hosted the lunch to showcase a menu that signalled the arrival of winter. Hot and hearty soul food replaced cool, summery options – all special fare that Caitlin dreamed up to ward off the Highveld cold.
Her steaming lentil and bean soup was, according to guests, delicious and comforting. Caitlin’s hot Mediterranean pasta was also a firm favourite. But it was the signature dessert, the Nutella cheesecake, that won most of the accolades.
Said Caitlin: “No matter the weather, we always guarantee the finest fare. I think we achieved that at our memorable chef’s table. Most importantly, I think that everyone really had a fun time.”
Flowing throughout the lunch were liquid treats in the form of martinis from martini maestros, Martini Royale. The Cuban special Mojito Royale, that has a hint of spice in it, was a huge hit.
Said Khojane: “We wanted our guests to leave with a sense of repletion, having sampled and enjoyed absolutely everything on the menu. I think we achieved that. We pride ourselves on being a family restaurant.
“Our menu, our attitude to large groups of diners and our welcoming staff prove that we are just that: family oriented.”
The restaurant also offers an extensive list of high-end wines as well as cocktails.