Looking for something to chase the winter chills away? At Solo in Cape Town, you’ll find an elegant beef ragù that’s made with red, red wine. South Africa’s signature pinotage, to be precise. Linda Scarborough nominates it for your lunch.
The main ingredients are tender, pull-apart braised beef short rib in a pinotage reduction, with baby rainbow carrots, baby corn and blackened mange tout.
What inspired chef Chad Blows to create this dish is the idea of having a glass of pinotage and a braai on cold winter nights. “I just love the wholesome beefy flavour you get from a beautifully cooked short rib,” he enthuses. “We braise it for 6–8 hours with mirepoix veg (leeks, celery, carrots and onion), star anise, peppercorn and fresh thyme, a good quality pinotage, and a bit of homemade beef stock. The two pinotages I prefer to use are by Southern Right (which can be a bit pricey) and Beyerskloof (which is on the more affordable side).
“The snappy baby veg on the dish add a fresh, sweet crunch to complement the soft delicate elements.”
The creamy, almost purple-hued ragù works well with linguine, but we think it’s unbeatable with gnocchi. Chad agrees: “The light pillows of gnocchi absorb the rich, meaty flavours of the dish.” The gnocchi is hand made by the chefs at Solo. “We don’t really have a recipe for it; gnocchi should be prepared by the feel and touch.”
This whole experience can be yours for R95. Lunch is served from 11.30am to 3.30pm, Monday to Friday, and from 11.30am until 2.30pm on Saturday.
During winter, Solo does soup-and-sandwich combos every day. Look forward to the likes of tomato-and-basil soup with an old-fashioned double-decker grilled cheddar, mozzarella, cherry tomato and tomato chutney sandwich, and rich sweet-potato-and-cinnamon soup with a boerewors roll loaded with chive mayo, rocket and fresh tomato. Be sure to stop by the counter for a coffee and muffin or slice of cheesecake on your way out.