A food dream inspired by the culinary capital of Rome, Italy, where owner Alessandro Mosupi Khojane was born, is now a delicious reality at Gemelli Italian Restaurant in Bryanston. His ten years’ experience in the industry, (most recently, at Cafe del Sol) and passion for food and people make Alessandro a natural in this challenging industry.
The food at Gemelli has strong Italian roots, but is prepared with modern flair by head chef Paulo Santo. The Caprese salad is brimming with expertly layered flavours of tomatoes prepared three ways: fresh, lightly sautéed, and a tomato jelly finished with a homemade pesto, wafers of toasted ciabatta and, of course, mozzarella.
The cured venison carpaccio with radish and hazelnut dressing, and the beetroot and gorgonzola tart with candied walnut and fig and balsamic reduction, also make for a perfect start to your meal.
Alessandro’s signature dish ‘Penne Alessandro’ (of course it’s named after him!) is a masterful combination of smoked chicken, prawn tails and prosecco-mustard cream. This pasta has mood-enhancing properties, which will ensure you complete every last morsel of the generous portion.
Alternatively, the seabass is perfectly cooked and pairs beautifully with the pea mousse, mussel-herb crema and glazed beetroot. In true Italian style, you can order the mushroom risotto, containing four types of mushrooms, pecorino cheese, truffle oil and a mushroom dust to elevate the earthiness, as a side dish.
Most Italian restaurants feel obliged to serve tiramisu at the end of a meal. Gemelli does too, but an unusual combination of textured Oreo topping, espresso custard and mascarpone mousse puts a refreshing twist on this traditional favourite. I’ll definitely be back to try the nougat cheesecake served with marzipan gelato.
A well-crafted and well-priced wine list will certainly satisfy most palates as well as the connoisseur. Some of my favourites like the Ataraxia chardonnay, Crystallum pinot noir and the Black Water noir red blend grace the list. The beer drinker will be pleased with the selection of Italian and local craft beers. Cocktails like the Lesotho Lady and The mad Italian certainly sound like they can get a party started.
The team at Gemelli completes the culinary experience. Everyone contributes, from the charismatic personality of the owner and the efficient and professional waiters, down to the energetic chefs who pop out if the busy kitchen to explain their dishes with passion.
Careful attention has been paid to every detail; the large hand-painted, almost three-dimensional mural anchors the loft-styled space. A large marble-topped bar lines one end of the restaurant with large champagne troughs filled with ice-cold bottles of wine and champagne awaiting your indulgence. This slick modern setting makes for one of our city’s most stylish eateries.
While this restaurant is only two weeks old, it certainly has all the right ingredients for a bright future on the Johannesburg food scene.
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