Whether you like it molten or mouldy, nothing gladdens the palate quite like the glorious substance known as cheese. We’ve gone on a treasure hunt for the capital city’s most exquisite fromage-featuring dishes.
One of Pretoria’s culinary stalwarts, this Italian eatery has been around since 1990. Cheese lovers adore the ‘pizza quatro formaggi’ from their wood-fired oven: a decadent masterpiece on a crispy base that combines the soft tones of mozzarella with the luscious flavours of fontina, while lashings of Parmesan and gorgonzola notch up the intensity. In the mood for something lighter? Try the equally delicious ‘insalata di gorgonzola’.
Paneer forms the base of many classic Indian dishes, and there’s no better place than Geet to savour this delicious, fresh cheese. The ‘bhatti da paneer’ is inspired by flavours from the North Indian city of Dehradhun, and features an exceptionally tasty tandoori paneer served with garlic riata. For something comforting and indulgent, order the dreamy ‘shahi paneer’ – a slightly richer and intensely flavourful version of butter paneer.
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Why wait for the main course to get your fix? The Hillside Tavern offers two irresistibly cheesy starters. The deep-fried brie is a wedge of the good stuff, encrusted with sesame seeds and crushed black peppercorns, served with a mango and apricot purée and a delicate melba toast. If you prefer a firmer texture, go for the deep-fried haloumi served with an ever-so-slightly-spicy sweet chilli sauce. But of course, the Hillside is famous for its grills – and one of its specialities is the gorgonzola steak, which is flambéed in Pernod and decadently topped with two escargots.
Mi Casa frontman J’Something has two passions in life: music… and food. His restaurant at Time Square in Menlyn offers a neat variety of fun and unpretentious meals. On the starters menu, look out for the deep fried mac ‘n cheese: an innovative variation of this comforting classic, which is presented in crumbed cubes of deliciousness. The cheeseboard is equally appealing, featuring a seductive selection that includes goat’s cheese, gouda with cumin, camembert and shaved cheddar served with pear and saffron chutney.
This authentic Portuguese eatery in Hazelwood’s culinary hub is a much-loved spot for sundowners, but any self-respecting cheese lover ought to check out the ridiculously tasty ‘Franceshina’. Also known as ‘the heart-throbber’ – this dish lives up to its name by upping the cheese factor to the max. It’s basically a massive sandwich stuffed with sausage, steak, ham and cheese, served on a sea of chips, and drenched in a gorgeously gooey melted cheese sauce.
It’s worth venturing to the outskirts of the 012 area to sink your teeth into Tin Roof Café’s jalapeño poppers. These crumbed jalapeños are filled with mozzarella, wrapped in copa ham and served with mascarpone and honey: a classy little combo that packs a decadent punch of tastes and textures. End things off with their mouth-wateringly scrumptious berry cheesecake, served with a mixed berry sorbet, raspberry dust and meringue chards.
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The good people over at Yami know that an epic cheeseburger is a thing of beauty. The aptly named ‘cheesy dead end’ burger features a 200-gram chicken or beef patty drenched in a cheese sauce and topped with extra aged cheddar, but their true tour de force is the ‘Eiffel cheese’. This marvellous creation brings diners thrice the cheesy goodness with Emmenthal, aged cheddar and blue cheese crumble.
Have we missed any of your favourite spots serving cheesy goodness in Pretoria? Please share it with your fellow cheese lovers in the comments below or review your experience using our free app.