Restaurant Review: La Sosta

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La Sosta 145 Voortrek Street Swellendam,,,,,,,(028),514,1470,,,,,,

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If local Italians come all the way from Cape Town (many even staying over in the guest house), one can draw two inferences: first, there are not that many good Italian restaurants in Cape Town; and secondly, La Sosta must be really good. The first inference we know to be true; the second had to be verified.

,,,, The story is familiar. Chapter one. Foreigners tired of rat race in own country fall in love with SA town. In this case Christiana and Giovanni Minori swapped Milan for Swellendam, a choice which some may regard as not entirely obvious. Chapter 2. Foreigners start local business. In this case an Italian restaurant and guest house., Then follows the difficult chapter 3: Do the foreigners survive, or do they struggle with locals who are not necessarily able to distinguish between mortadella and Bokkie polony?, Since we are not in the fantasy world of reality TV, we need not dwell on that phase, and can fortunately fast-forward to chapter 4, the outcome. And in our case the outcome is clear: over the past two years the Minoris have managed to establish one of the best restaurants in the country. Punto.

,,,, How can one describe the meal? We all know the feeling. You are reminded of some past experience, which you cannot precisely recall. Structurally, the similarities were obvious: both consisted of three parts. Sensually, though, the links were more elusive: in both cases the whole was harmonious, yet with confident self-contained parts. And then, on the way out, it struck me:, I had just enjoyed the culinary equivalent of Haydn’s Cello Concerto number 1.

,,,, The vitello tonnato was an ideal starter: a delicate combination of sliced veal and tuna sauce, to be savoured at a moderato tempo, with none of the gritty texture or fussy decoration to be found on lesser stuff. It was a deeply satisfying prequel to the moving main course, the pork fillet in garlic sauce., Pork fillet is of course a tricky business; it dries out easily, and can be rather bland, so the accompanying players are crucial. And they did not disappoint. A delightful fluffy spinach tower partnered some red and yellow peppers; but the star was again the sauce:, garlic was poached in milk (not water) to rid it of its sharpness, and the resulting pulp then formed the basis of an unctuous liquid which covered the modest fillet. This was not the sort of stuff to be in eaten in haste; only adagio would do. And finally there was the pudding: sparkling, spritely lemon sorbet, encased in a whole lemon, set in a simple blue cocktail glass., A dazzling allegro molto finale to a perfect meal.

,,,, Reservations are essential. La Sosta is only open in the evenings and there are only about 20 seats, which are usually booked well in advance. The CA number plates and Ferrari bumper stickers say it all.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,JP Bruwer

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