When Villa 47 first opened in 2016, I could not stay away, loving its Breakfasts on Saturdays, its dry cappuccinos accompanied by a sweet treat of Tiramisu usually, or a special lunch or dinner treat with friends. But then I started watching my weight, and to travel to town less often, and two years flew by in last having eaten there. Having seen their Winter Special menu and some photographs, and wanting to celebrate a special achievement in town, Villa 47 was the perfect restaurant to do so.
Although I officially became a registered Tourist Guide two weeks ago, I was only able to collect my official Tourist Guiding card at the Western Cape Department of Economic Affairs and Tourism yesterday. As the offices from which I collected the card are in town, I arrived at Villa 47 without a booking just after midday, and easily obtained a table. The restaurant looked like it did when I was last there, with slightly fewer tables. Ros is still, or is it again, the Front of House Manager, and even co-owner Michele Mirotto arrived, coming to greet me at my table, a lovely touch. The only change I noticed immediately was that a Rialto Foods product shelf stands on the floor, displaying the Italian origin products sold by the company, of which the co-owners also are owners of Villa 47. Sadly I heard that the Operations Manager Peter Douglas has emigrated to the UK, and that long-standing Chef Clayton Bell left in June.
Before entering the main restaurant, a staff member stood inside the doorway, taking my temperature, sanitising my hands, and took my name and phone details, all per the Government’s Corona Lockdown regulations for Restaurants.
My waiter gave me a choice of a digital menu via a QR code, or an old-fashioned menu with plastic sheets in between each page. He brought the condiments to the table, salt and pepper grinders, as well as Italian olive oil and balsamic vinegar. A bread plate arrived soon thereafter, two bites of focaccia, three slices of ciabatta, and some bread sticks, very much like before. I requested butter for the bread, and this was offered as catering portions, not fitting in with my quality expectation of Villa 47, and a definite change from my last visit. I ordered a glass of tap water, there being no spontaneous offering of mocktails or any other non-alcoholic beverages. A paper placemat was brought to the table, with a side plate and cutlery presented on a thick quality gauze napkin.
The Winter Special offer costs R245 for two courses and R310 for three courses. One can choose two or three dishes on the extensive list, divided into Starters, Pasta, Main courses, and Desserts. Having seen the menu before my arrival, I knew immediately that I wanted to order the Caprese salad as a starter, and the Rosemary Lamb Rack as the main course.
The Caprese salad was a generous portion, with a number of mozzarella slices presented on top of cherry tomatoes, with bread crumbs on the side of the stack, topped with a sprig of basil. Eating it with the ciabatta was a filling start to my lunch. I drizzled the Italian olive oil over it, gave it a good dose of black pepper, and declined the balsamic vinegar.
But the highlight of the lunch was the über generous portion of the Rosemary Lamb Rack served with Parmesan mashed potato, and roasted winter vegetables, including red peppers, baby narrows, and carrots. The lamb was delicious, I rarely eating meat, but this was the best meat dish I have eaten in a long time. I loved the presentation too,with the large sprig of Rosemary as the centre piece.
Starters include Zuppa, and the house salad; there are five Pasta choices; four main course choices also include kingklip, a Villa 47 Wagyu Burger, and fillet; while desserts offerings are Cannoli, chocolate fondant, and Crema Catalana.
It was time to leave for my next appointment and Ros brought the bill as well as the credit card machine, wiping it down before placing it in front of me. I love that she also brought each of the two dishes to the table, announcing its name and ingredients as she placed it in front of me. The staff were less proactive than I remembered, but quick to meet any request when I called them to the table. By the time I left the restaurant, it was full, busy and buzzing.
It was a fabulous feast, at an excellent value for money, and a worthy celebration of my new Tourist Guide card.
Villa 47, 47 Bree Street, Cape Town. Tel 021 741-0250. www.villa47.co.za Instagram: @villa47onbree
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein