A decade down the line and the Italian-inspired steakhouse from chef-patron Giorgio Nava still draws in a loyal crowd of meat-loving locals and tourists.
It’s a far cry from your average steakhouse though, in both price and presentation. Forget about sauces and bastes: here the steaks arrive with little more than a dressing of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Ask for béarnaise and you might be on the receiving end of some colourful Italian from the chef.
Look out for unusual-yet-tasty cuts such as spider or hangar, while the selection of bone-in steaks is superb, if expensive. The perfectly grilled 1.2kg La Fiorentina T-bone that serves two is justifiably the star of the steak menu, and well worth the extra spend. There are thin-cut fries and steamed broccoli for sides, but they’re bit-players against the excellent steak.
Bookending the beef is a selection of wonderful starters and desserts, many drawn from the menu of Nava’s much-loved 95 Keerom across the street. Here the ravioli of slow-braised lamb shoulder is memorable, as is Nava’s superb dark chocolate fondant.
An extensive wine list, heavy on the reds, includes a pleasing cross-section of South Africa’s iconic estates alongside a handful of boutique producers. There’s also an excellent range of Italian wineries. End the meal with your choice of the dozen grappas on offer.
Knowledgeable waiters are always on hand to talk you through the selection of specialty cuts.
There’s a sleek cosmopolitan feel to this basement restaurant, but the downside to the screed floors and industrial chic is that it can get noisy when full.
Few guests take advantage of the stylish upstairs bar for a pre-dinner drink or late-night digestif.
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