My dinner date at BOCCA, the Italian word for ‘mouth’ taught me two things: don’t be late for a German appointment and BOCCA proprietors Guido and Adnana Brambilla mean to tantalise every single one of the
10 000 taste buds in your mouth.

Find BOCCA at the junction of Bree and Wale street in Cape Town’s trendy CBD just a short stroll up from the V&A Waterfront to share in romantic sunset dinners, family-gathering celebrations, or if you are one of the city’s many singular tech-head imports needing a shot of divine sustenance during one of your coding marathons… we saw all three varieties of patrons there on its split-level interior where the focus is firmly on fine food creation rather than just fancy interiors.

CELEBRATE WITH TASTE

Once you’ve dived into your first urban Italian cuisine experience offered up by maestro chef Guido, you will be loudly joining the buzzing fray as people revel in its flavour sensations offered up in a snappy array of sublime food, conversation and laughter .

BOCCA has an Italian calling for inspiring a food celebration, as only the Italians know how, delivered to your private table. It’s a recipe for never leaving and always returning. As petite hostess Adnana says “You can come by yourself and sit at the counter for a glass of wine and a few small plates or arrive as a group and experience a selection of dishes. It’s really a place for people to connect over food.”

MENU MOZZAFIATO

There by invitation of a local foodie friend, my dinner partner and I were served a special BOCCA chef’s table, with each dish accompanied by detailed explanations from master chef Guido, so I benefited from an Italian lesson in the finer details of the variety and preparation of our particular dishes.

Putting his new menu into context, Guido says: “It’s all about uncomplicated Italian flavours, the kind you would enjoy if you were invited for dinner in an Italian household.”

We felt right at home at BOCCA with both of us delighting in each dishes unique sampling.

Guido and Adnana are particularly intent on sourcing the best local ingredients for their menu at BOCCA, adding their Italian flair to locally sourced South African products which they acknowledge as being of top-notch quality.

The local Stracciatella with roasted cherry tomatoes and confit eggplant was a first for me and I nearly swooned. Rich, creamy and almost the consistency of thick yoghurt, I was in heaven. The Polpo of Atlantic octopus with potatoes and basil pesto – a classic Mediterranean-inspired BOCCA dish was as breath-taking.

The star of the show for me however was the Polpettine; interesting for someone who ricochets between thoughts of turning vegetarian and eating all the crackling off the roast pork. Polpettine is a finely ground meatball of beef, pork and lamb to be dipped into a fresh ‘mayo verde’. Each bite is a series of new tastes unfolding one on top of the other and I couldn’t stop going back for more, nicking more than my fair share of it.

Before the arrival of the Brambilla’s, BOCCA was famous for its pizza and nothing has changed. With their imported Acunto oven – which cooks pizzas in 90 seconds, at temperatures topping 450°F – the dough sees a process of slow fermentation before being thrown by hand and pushed into its fiery heat.

The latest member of the BOCCA pizza family is their little PIZZETTE which is rolled smaller – about 16cm across – than a traditional pizza, and which means you can enjoy your favourite pizza flavours while still having space to try a variety of other new dishes served at the table.

We shared the Amatriciana with smoked cheeks of pork and pecorino on a puffy yet crisp base which was so ridiculously delicious it’s hard to view it as mere pizza – at least the takeaway sort of pizza I have previously come to know.

DOLCE ENDINGS

Not being a sweet tooth, I decided to forgo dessert for another glass of Sauvignon Blanc complements of Cape Town’s accessible Uber services but my dinner partner absolutely raved about the Tiramisu with Mascarpone Cream, declaring it the best he has ever tasted; high praise indeed with my own odious time-keeping long forgotten after a bacchanal of such fine fare.

Even as the happy last patron leaves BOCCA and midnight prepares to settle over the city, Guido is setting the next day’s fare in motion, placing his larger cuts of beef, lamb, poultry and port into the heat of the pizza oven for gentle slow roasting in preparation to start another staple Italian day in the kitchen.

Expect the menu of this upscale eatery to change four times a year as Guido works the South African seasons with his own brand of passion, dedication and hands-on approach extended with authentic Italian hospitality for every and all types of diners through their welcoming BOCCA doorway. It’s a guaranteed to be mouth-watering with the perfect selection of small plates ideal for sharing.

BOCCA is open for lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday from noon until 22h00 with last orders are taken at 21h30. Visit their website at https://bocca.co.za/.

Connect with Guido and Adnana Brambilla’s BOCCA on social media via @BoccaCT on Twitter; @boccaCT on Facebook; and bocca_ct on Instagram

Firehorse Media is a South African communications and PR consultancy owned and managed by Mercedes Westbrook, whose career as a journalist, editor, managing editor and communications consultant spans 22 years experience in the print and digital industry. Email her on mercedes@firehorsemedia.co.za or C:+27 789707633.

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