Greeted by the owner in a dark blue chefs jacket, the Neapolitan accent coming through in the ’buona sera’ as we took our seats, the lovely and quaint Osteria Tarantino, on De Waterkant Road, welcomes you in like family. As the fireplace burns, you can look over the four chalkboards housing their menus, from fine Italian and South African wines, antipasti, main meals, and specials, every item giving you a feeling of homemade soul food.
We started off with four antipasti: stracciatella and rocket wrapped in Parma ham with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar drizzle, known as Tuscan cigars, thinly sliced veal carpaccio topped with shavings of parmigiano, vitel tonnato, a plate of thinly sliced beef topped with a creamy tuna and caper sauce, and lastly, creamy burrata which spills over its accompaniment of rosa and sundried tomatoes, olives, and Parma ham, on a bed of crisp rocket, as it is cut into.
The elaborate and yet authentic menu and a glass of Chianti make you feel like you are sitting on a small street in Italy, people watching, as food is lovingly prepared with the simple aim to please.
The main event is the homemade pasta: pappardelle or ravioli, with a choice of rich homemade sauces, served in hot pans. The 4P’s boasts pappardelle, parmigiano, funghi porcini and pancetta, in either a creamy tomato base or a humble cream sauce (4P’s Bianco), with a fifth silent p: peperoncino (chili), to give it a little punch. The sauce is also adapted to its 4RP’s, with beautiful ricotta and spinach filled ravioli. The rest of the menu includes ravioli with Tartufo, a creamy truffle sauce, veal meatballs, gorgonzola gnocchi, or take a peek at the specials menu. Their rigatoni with porcini mushrooms and Italian salsiccia caught our eye.
The rich flavours compliment each other perfectly, and all that cream is surprisingly light to the palate.
Wrap up the evening with an espresso and a selection of dolci like their spongy Tiramisu, crisp cannoli filled with delicate sweet ricotta, their cassata (a layered chocolate and vanilla ice cream), or their chocolate salame, which for any Italian is a reminder of childhood birthday parties of Marie biscuits folded into a chocolate mixture and shaped into a salame; this one, however, ups the ante with a hint of amaretto, nuts, and coffee.
This evening including three courses and a bottle of wine ranged at about R300 per person, but its perfect for an intimate dinner or first date.
An easy 4 on our dining scale!