Small menus mean that you know that the chef has focused on perfecting every single dish. You also don’t waste time deliberating on what to eat.
There are all of eight pizza toppings to choose from – and two are pizza Bianca, which means no tomato base. Striking the perfect balance between a thick and thin crust, the Cedare and the Leviso are simply delicious. The Cedare comes with spicy salami, kalamata olives, roasted garlic and blue cheese; while the Leviso is topped with white anchovies, capers and fresh basil.
The beauty of these pizzas is the restraint of toppings. Splitting two pizzas and a salad is a good idea for a couple. There are three options on the menu – the House salad with burrata, prosciutto, artichokes, and rocket; the well-known Caprese; and the Celery salad, which is made with celery, lemon, parmesan, parsley, red onion and anchovies. And, just in case you’re not in the mood for pizza, there are also meat and fish options (slow-cooked beef short rib or Cape salmon).
Dessert is a choice between tiramisu, panna cotta or affogato (vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso) rounds off the meal quite satisfactorily.
The minimalist approach extends to their wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages. But don’t fear – you’ll definitely find a good sauvignon blanc, chenin, red or Prosecco available by the bottle or glass.
Efficient and relaxed service, with communication from the waiter only happening when necessary, makes this a go-to neighbourhood lunch or dinner choice if you’re in the Parks area.
With a few window seats available, it’s perfect for the lone customer working through lunch or enjoying a quiet drink while watching passersby. The restaurant does not need more than the simplicity offered – there are just a few square tables and utilitarian-style but rather comfortable chairs.
Try the Aperol Spritz, Americano or Inverroche and tonic as one of the three perfect aperitifs to whet your appetite. There’s also secure parking behind the restaurant and, if you’re up for a little nightcap and dance, head to Sin + Tax after your meal.
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The corner of Jan Smuts and Bolton in Rosebank has seen a very welcome turnaround, with two new restaurants already in motion and a third in the pipeline. The first to open was The Collection, owned and run by the same people who brought us Social on Main. It’s a vibey restaurant with an adjoining bar that heaves on a nightly basis. On the Bolton side of the block, the guys that brought us the formidable Eatery JHB and Parliament in Parkmore have opened The Coalition.
It’s a laid-back pizza joint, where they’re dedicated to giving you an authentic, Neapolitan pizza experience. This means a two-day rising process to make the dough, from 00 flour, and using simple, crushed tomatoes for the base. They also make their own fior de latte mozzarella from curds that are specially flown in from Puglia in the Cape, and cook the pizzas at temperatures of around 400°C to give you that perfectly puffed and marvellously charred speckle on the crust.
The pizzas are all named after the owners and their friends, so there’s nothing authentic in this arena, although there’s no avocado or bacon in sight, which will please the purists. Standouts include the Holtini, with coppa ham, thyme, mushrooms and Italian parsley; the Nupura, with sundried tomatoes, grilled artichokes, kalamata olives and basil; and the Asha, a pizza bianco with smoked trout, capers, mascarpone and fresh dill. The pizzas are terrific; the quality of the ingredients is high, and you won’t find many people leaving even a slice to take home.
The restaurant is intimate, with the pizza oven taking up most of the open-plan kitchen, so the menu is limited. The salads mostly keep with the Italian motif: a Caprese with heirloom tomatoes and home-made mozzarella; a house salad of burrata cheese, prosciutto, artichokes and rocket; and a wonderfully named Not Really salad of bonemarrow, Italian parsley and focaccia. There’s also one meat and one fish dish, both of which are cooked in the pizza oven. The former is a slow-cooked beef short rib that falls off the bone, served with a crisp focaccia and a gremolata that stings with zesty flavour – an absolute must.
For dessert it’s a toss-up between a rich and indulgent tiramisu made with quality marsala wine and mascarpone, a panna cotta that’s subtle and delicious, and a simple affogato to which I would recommend adding a shot of grappa.
The drinks selection is neat and tidy. For an aperitif you can choose between an Aperol spritz or an Inverroche and tonic; in the beer department there’s CBC lager on tap or Peroni by the bottle; and, in the wine division, you can choose from a small selection of different and interesting whites and reds including Mullineux, AA Badenhorst and Spice Route. By the glass you’ll find good, local pinot grigio and sangiovese.
They’re not working as a well-oiled machine just yet, but the service is friendly and welcoming.
It’s cool and unpretentious, with minimalist décor, high ceilings and trendy lighting. There are only seven tables that are spaced close together, so there’s not much privacy to be had, but this creates a buzzing atmosphere that’s lively and infectious.
The music is fantastic.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.