Mustacchio specialises in breakfast, pasta and burgers. At first glance, the portions seem small, especially in comparison to the advertising. However, you’re sure to fill up quickly.
The menu is a melange of options. It starts off with a customary breakfast selection before moving on to 8 different types of croissants (one option is filled with whipped cream and berries; another with ice cream). Then comes the pastas and burgers. There’s Bolognese, cacio e pepe and vegan carbonara. If you’re a pesto lover, however, opt to have it as the sauce on your gnocchi or tagliatelle. The gnocchi is delightfully pillowy, serving as a perfect companion to the oils of the pesto (which can be mopped up with the two small pieces of bread that accompany the pasta). Warning: the pesto is stuffed to the gills with garlic. Plan accordingly.
The burger section is far more telling of passing trends. There’s a deep-fried burger, which is wrapped in phyllo pastry then deep fried. It looks exactly as outrageous as it sounds. There are two vegan options and one vegetarian option, as well as what’s called The Black Panther – a normal burger but featuring buns infused with activated charcoal. The waffle burger is annoyingly good. Something that gimmicky should not be that tasty but the sweetness of the waffle pairs perfectly with the salty beef and bacon, with both offset by the homemade honey mustard. The crowning halo of parmesan finishes it all off perfectly. The chips are fairly good but even better is the homemade tomato sauce they serve it with.
You’ll be stuffed but do not leave without dessert. The torta Mustacchio, a coconut cake layered with Nutella and topped with flaked coconut, is exquisite eaten warm. There aren’t that many other desserts on the menu, but it doesn’t matter. This is the one to have.
There was an issue with their liquor licence so at the time of visiting the restaurant, there are no alcoholic drinks available. Their non-alcoholic options are sadly a letdown. On a cold day, the purportedly Italian-style hot chocolate (made with dark or white chocolate) seems like a good idea, but it’s thick and lumpy rather than velvety and glorious. Their milkshake and smoothie selections are impressive, sporting flavours like salted caramel and Bailey’s, and cinnamon velvet. Unfortunately, while the Oreo milkshake looks spectacular, it tastes far too milky and watered down. Other drinks options include coffees, teas and fresh juices.
The staff seem reluctant to do their jobs and unwilling to answer questions about the menu. Getting a waiter to return to your table is an exercise in patience. Even with few customers, service is incredibly slow so don’t go when you’re in a rush. The food, however, makes all service problems worth it.
The restaurant is broken up into different sections. You can dine al fresco, you can sit inside at booths, you can sit on barstools overlooking Kloof Street, or you can sit in the middle of the restaurant on chairs or on the couches (great for a small casual lunch meeting). If seated at the correct angle, you may get a view of the TV that displays all the menu’s highlights. It’s a slick way of making you want every single thing on it. The hubbub of Kloof Street, coming in at full volume through the massive doors and windows, can be distracting or enlivening.
The swing dancing every second Friday night.
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