Risotto. What a weird dish. BUT, damn that shizzle is tasty! I only started eating risotto a few years ago. My folks don’t really like Italian (I know, dunno what they’re thinking), so my Mom didn’t make much of it growing up. And risotto was no where NEAR the menu at home! It’s really Master Chef & cooking shows that brought it to my attention. Now I LOVE it and even dare to make ‘the death dish’ at home myself. But there are pros out there who know what they’re doing who can fill your tummy with the goooooood stuff! Here are 5 great risottos, in no particular order, that I’ve had in Cape Town:
Societi Bistro – Mushroom Risotto
Societi Bistro is well known for their risotto and turned out to be one of the first venues that I had ever ordered the dish. It was a company outing and I didn’t want something too big before going out dancing afterwards. With the perfect texture (must have a bite, that’s genuinely the Italian way) and a generous amount of parmesan, it was delicious (I have been known to return for it from time to time). Find the mushroom risotto for R85 on the Societi Bistro’s 2017 autumn menu.
Steenberg’s Bistro Sixteen82 – Smoked Paprika Risotto
Bistro Sixteen82 actually has a risotto of the day, so I can’t guarantee that you’ll get this one again. But I had the smoked paprika risotto in December (can’t believe it was so long ago) and it was really delicious. Sprinkled with some perfectly crisp bacon bits, DELICIOUS! I think it was par-cooked (popular method in busy restaurants) so it didn’t QUITE have the bite I was looking for – but, overall, I’ve thought about it quite a few times thereafter and could EASILY have it again. Find the starter risotto of the day for R82 at Sixteen 82.
Groot Constantia’s Jonkershuis’ – Pea & Asparagus Risotto
I’m realising that locals don’t love Groot Constantia as much as they could. I personally spent zero time there over the last 20 years, until about 6 months ago. And I have to say that I’ve kinda been enjoying it. Seeing the ducks, enjoying the food market (which I’ve heard has shut already 🙁 ) and having snacks with friends, I’ve enjoyed it. The last time I visited I went to a friend’s babyshower and had a delicious pea risotto – PERFECT for a hot summer’s day. The texture and level of cheese used in the dish was excellent. Find the pea & asparagus risotto on the Jonkershuis summer menu for R78.
Taj Hotel – Corn & Jalapeno Risotto
I had one of THE best risottos EVER at the Taj Hotel! It was actually for a corporate event that I attended there that I was able to try their corn and jalapeno risotto. WOW! The sweetness of the corn plays off the heat of the jalapeno in the most unexpected way. It’s a true delight! I’m not sure if you can just order it on their regular menu, but if you can DO IT!
**Not the actual dish, image for example purposes only.
Burrata – Crispy Pork & Currant Vinaigrette
We popped into Burrata on our way to Prascilla Queen of the Desert at the Artscape and wanted something quick and easy. “Arborio rice with crispy pork, granny smith apple and currant vinaigrette” sounded good so we went for it. I loved the little green apple skin squares that brightened up the dish and the crunch of the pork as promised. But, it wasn’t sliced pork – it was dried, pulled pork which, for R155, made it about R25 too pricey. The currant vinaigrette was unique and I enjoyed the twist, but it was SLIGHTLY overcooked for me – no bite in the middle (which I can understand if it’s precooked & only took 15 mins to serve). I think there may have been a hint of truffle oil mixed in. Nice to see the restaurant, great service, but I think half the price and half the portion may be better.
Steenberg’s Catharinas – Mushroom Risotto
My friend and I popped in last week to enjoy Catharina’s latest lunch special (more about that later). A mushroom risotto was on the menu so I had that as the starter. This was a risotto made with carnaroli rice (I think) so the texture was slightly different. I loved the use of exotic mushrooms, but it was a little loose for me. It had a good level of parmesan, but I wouldn’t have minded a little charcoal crumb or truffle oil sprinkled over – just something to mix it up a little bit. Perfect portion size though and delicious overall.
If you love risotto as much as I do (my favourite is really under a beautifully cooked piece of meat), then try some of these out. What’s your favourite risotto? Please tell me in the comment section below so I can go and try them too.