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{news} Heat up with BOCCA’s new sizzling summer menu

October 14, 2019

It’s been a busy year for BOCCA, the bustling Italian eatery in the heart of Bree Street, Cape Town’s ‘restaurant mile’. Under new ownership – experienced restaurateurs Guido and Adnana Brambilla – BOCCA’s refreshed décor and inspired urban Italian menu have kept local foodies, and savvy tourists, flocking to one of the city’s most talked-about restaurants.

Read my review on their new menu and new look here!

BOCCA was a completely new adventure for us, but we have learned so much from the last year,” says Adnana. “We learned a lot about our own operations and we learned about making it through the quiet winter season. But most importantly we have learned a lot about what Capetonians like to eat!

Fish Tartare – Lindy Kriek

And with the weather in the Mother City warming up for summer BOCCA’s menu is on the move, with much-loved favourites returning and a host of new plates to tempt local palates.

The menu is a living beast,” chuckles Guido, whose cheffing experience stretches from Milan to Bermuda and back again. “It changes all the time. For spring and summer we have brought in many new dishes to encourage Capetonians and tourists to come back to BOCCA for another visit.”

There’s certainly a new focus on seafood on the revamped menu, with Guido blending local produce with Italian inspiration.

There is such great seafood on offer in South Africa, and the quality is fantastic,” he says.

Read my review on their new menu and new look here!

Italian Fried Chicken – Lindy Kriek

Norma fusilli eggplant tomato – Lindy Kriek

Pizzette Gnappo – Lindy Kriek

In the ‘BITES’ selection of small-plates Guido pays tribute to a long tradition of raw seafood in Italian cuisine, bringing Puglia to the Cape Peninsula in his Fish Tartare of ‘Western Cape waters catch’. Putting freshness first, all that’s needed to bring this crudo to life is a deft touch with spring onions, olives, oregano and a dash of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Served on crostini, it’s the perfect plate for summer.

The popular Fritto Misto of crispy calamari, white bait and mussels returns to the menu for summer, alongside a superb plate of Italian-style Prawns. Simply seasoned with olive oil, white wine and lemon juice, they’re flash-roasted in the wood-burning pizza oven to lock in flavour.

Because of the high temperature and the moisture inside the oven it is just perfect for flash-roasting certain dishes,” says Guido. “For me the best way to cook prawns is with the head and shell still on. It gives so much flavour to the dish.”

Guido is already famous for using his authentic Acunto oven for far more than just the ever-popular pizzette. At the end of the evening larger cuts of beef, lamb, poultry and pork are slow-roasted overnight for the following day’s meat-driven plates.

The bowl of Beef Short-rib makes the best of both worlds. Whole ribs are slow-cooked overnight in red wine and bay leaves, before being deboned, sliced and flash-roasted to order.

The high temperature caramelises the crust of the meat just slightly, but keeps the inside beautifully soft and moist,” says Guido.

But during service the imported Italian oven also turns out a steady stream of hand-made pizzette, each cooked in under 90 seconds at 640°C. Because they’re rolled slightly smaller than a traditional pizza – roughly 25cm across – they allow diners to discover different plates and flavours.

While it’s not easy for Guido to shake up the selection of pizzette – “whenever we try to take off some flavours our regulars complain!” says Guido – the summer menu includes a handful of delicious new creations.

Read my review on their new menu and new look here!

In step with the lighter summer-ready approach, the Gnappo is a pizza bianca with no tomato sauce on the base. Topped with mozzarella and fontina cheese, prosciutto cotto from charcutier Richard Bosman and oven-roasted leeks, “it’s a pizza that’s all about simplicity, but it’s a perfect combination of flavours,” says Guido.

And Capetonians love bold flavours, adds Adnana: “They love garlic. They love chilli. That makes us happy, because it means we can be very adventurous with our dishes.”

BOCCA summer menu – Lindy Kriek

Locals will certainly love the new San Remo pizza then, inspired by the flavours and traditions of Liguria in western Italy. Similar to the sardenara, a regional specialty with links to the French pissaladière, the San Remo packs a flavour punch of tomato, anchovies, capers, olives, oregano and garlic.

It’s very simple, with good strong flavours,” says Guido. “And because there’s no cheese topping it’s fresh, summery and light.”

If it’s light bites you’re after, the new cheese and charcuterie platters are ideal, and a perfect pairing for the after-work cocktails and aperitivos BOCCA has become famous for.

But this is an Italian restaurant, so of course there must be pasta. BOCCA only uses imported Rummo pasta, as it’s “the best durum wheat pasta you can get in South Africa,” says Guido.

The latest addition is the Pasta alla Norma, a classic of Sicilian cuisine fusing eggplant, tomato and garlic with silky cacioricotta cheese.

Another standout is the Spago di Mare, the spaghetti tossed in a flavour-packed reduction of mussel broth and prawn stock. Topped with fresh seafood and a sprinkle of roasted cherry tomatoes for sweetness, it’s in the running for Guido’s favourite dish at BOCCA

I’m not joking, every time I make this dish I inhale the aroma that comes up from the pan and it’s just pure joy!” laughs Guido.

His traditional Truffle Carbonara is made in the authentic tradition, with nothing more than free-range eggs, cured guanciale, pecorino, truffle oil and lots of black pepper. But here there’s no spaghetti, rather the broad tubes of penne candela for soaking up the silky sauce.

To finish? Always a little dolce, and the dessert selection has also had a shake-up for summer.

Alongside Guido’s classic Tiramisu the new Semifreddo is a sure-fire summer hit, topped with seasonal strawberries and spiced cashews. But when the mercury spikes the new Granita al Caffe is a must.

To make this classic Sicilian treat a mixture of espresso, almond liqueur and sugar syrup is slowly frozen, with regular whipping to break up the ice crystals. The espresso-flavoured ice is then served in a glass, topped with whipped cream, chocolate shavings and toasted almonds.

Everybody in Cape Town loves coffee, so we thought let’s give it a try,” says Guido. “It’s so good, so refreshing and flavourful.”

BOCCA is open for lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday from noon until 22h00. Please note that last orders are taken at 21h30.

BOCCA is situated at The Block, corner of Bree St & Wale Street, Cape Town City Centre. For more information visit www.bocca.co.za. For bookings call 021 422 0188 or email info@bocca.co.za. Connect on social media via @BoccaCT on Twitter; @boccaCT on Facebook; and bocca_ct on Instagram.

Content and images supplied.

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