Last Friday I shared a 7-course dinner at Pierino Penati, at Villa 47, sister restaurant to the one-star Michelin restaurant with the same name operating outside Milan in Italy, as a guest of Dine4Six. I have eaten at Pierino Penati, the best restaurant in Cape Town, previously, and have found it to be the best restaurant in the city.
Dine4Six is a new restaurant concept, in which six persons book to share dinner at a top restaurant, without ever having met each other. When I was invited to attend the dinner, I accepted immediately, not only because of the top restaurant involved, but also because of the unique concept of connecting a group of individuals who have not met before. The cost of the Dine4Six Pierino Penati dinner was R1100 per head.
I was the first to arrive, and was followed by Michelle de Bruin, who writes for Inside Guide. We had an interesting discussion about relationships, setting the scene for the conversation at the table throughout the evening. Soon two friends arrived, Thabied Harris and Mubasshier Mohamed and then arrived two further friends Tumi Tlhoaele and Ingrid Masondo, who had taken over the seats from a friend who was unable to make it in the last minute. I had never met any of the others before, but Thabied knew about me as a restaurant writer from having been involved in Seelan’s at the Waterfront for a while. He is now involved in a coffee roastery called Brewz Crew, located in Montague Gardens, the first black-owned coffee company, he told us.
Our conversation throughout the evening became funnier and funnier, so much so that I wrote on my Facebook post after the dinner that what happens at Dine4Six stays at Dine4Six! It did include Tinder as a topic, and evaluating the photographs used by one of our table, providing feedback. Our pre-dinner photograph compared to the one taken at the end reflected the camaraderie that had built up over the close to four hours spent at the restaurant.
We were served a glass of Prosecco with a dash of peach liqueur as a welcome drink, the Italian bubbly being the same as the one that is served at the Italian Pierino Penati. With it an Amuse Bouche of crispy delicious. tempura oyster with red cabbage was served. Rosi is the new hostess, having taken over from Anna, who spent six months here in Cape Town, on loan from the Italian sister restaurant. In the open-plan kitchen Chef Michelangelo D’Oria (left) and his assistant chef are from Italy too. Our table was closest to the kitchen, and the lighting was so good that I did not have to go to the pass to photograph the dishes there, as I have had to on past eating visits to the restaurant.
For the first starter, Sommelier Dominic Bodenstein had selected the Rijk’s MCC Brut 2014 from Tulbagh, one I had not heard of before, but praised at the table for its good acidity. The starter was a magnificently presented marinated salmon trout carpaccio, served with almost see-through ribbons of compressed celery and apple, lemon gel, edible flowers, and lemon yoghurt, one of the most beautiful dishes of the evening.
The second starter was calamari grigliati, described by Rosi as roasted calamari, served with squid ink, fluffy potato, and samphire seaweed. This Dominic paired with an unknown Wildehurst Chenin Blanc 2015 from the Swartland. Dominic described the wine as ‘groovy’, and gave us the background. It was produced by Chris and Johanna Hurst, who established their wine estate in 2009. The wine which we drank was made with grapes from 30 year old Chenin Blanc vines, using natural fermentation, spending four months in oak.
The fourth course was a very impactful one, in that Dominic brought the paired wine to the table in a Riedel Mamba glass decanter, the most unusual snake-like decanter any of us had ever seen. It contained Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir on Clay Soils 2017, from Elgin. The wine has a lovely label, reminiscent of work by Hannetjie de Clercq. The food paired with it was a simple but very tasty pumpkin ravioli served with fresh porcini and a mushroom reduction. An excellent wine, with an excellent pairing.
The fifth course was kabeljou, or roast cob, served with spinach, almonds, and a green herb sauce, creatively spash-plated. I found this dish far too salty, the only dish that disappointed as a result. Dominic paired the course with Meerlust Chardonnay 2016, from Stellenbosch.
The six course was a palate cleanser, of berry sorbet with a selection of berries, beautifully presented in a glass.
The dessert was the most popular, in being substantial, a combination of broken pieces of chocolate torte, fresh figs, fig ice cream, and chards of chocolate meringue. This course was paired with Foothills Monogram Straw Wine 2014 from Stellenbosch.
Our special evening of indulgence sadly came to an end, but we liked each other so much that we moved to Lou Lou’s Bar in the Cape Quarter for some dancing and more drinks.
Dine4Six www.dine4six.com Facebook: Dine4Six Twitter: @Dine4Six Instagram: @dine4six
Pierino Penati Cape Town, Villa 47 Emporio Italiano, 47 Bree Street, Cape Town. Tel (021) 418-2740 www.villa47.co.za Twitter: @Villa47onBree Instagram:@villa47onbree Tuesday – Saturday Dinner.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein