Friday, December 24, 2010

It's all Greek in Rosebank's Kuzina

Had dinner with my bookclub at Kuzina, a new Greek spot that opened in the Firs Rosebank not too long ago. I have been to Greece and feel that I do have a penchant for life on an island surrounded by blue waters coupled with a great dose of sun. From that perspective the blues, whites and beige in Kuzina was absolutely welcoming.

I started with pita bread and dip platter, no it is not gratis which is what I was asked by one of the girls who arrived late. Soft pita bread topped with hummus and creamy yet ever so slightly tart tzatziki. Then also the spicy feta with chilli dip was a great suprise that was offset by the mild melitzano salata that has aurbergine and peppers.

So far I'm feeling very very Greek. Then I do choose to diverge and have a not so greek Pimms cup thast comes in a wonderful glass, nothing makes me feel more on holiday than Pimms with lemonade, ginger ale and cucumber of course.

Next up was the mains and I decide to go for two sets of meze, the octopus and prawns saganaki. Now the octopus is grilled and served with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and origanum. The olive oil is just lovely you can taste that it's top good quality olive oil, the octopus is crispy and chewy which I was not expecting. At this point I start to wonder whether I made a bad menu choice or whether I'm not that into Greek after all.

The prawns saganaki  is prawns and mussels in a tomato sauce topped with feta and touch of garlic. Anyone who knows me knows a touch of garlic is not enough, so I found the mild flavours of the dish a bit bland, I mean it was tasty but I like tasty and punchy.

The watermelon salad with mint and feta was wonderfully refreshing with it's very own dollop of olive oil, I think I do do Greek food after all!

I ended my meal with Greek Coffee Glikos (means sweet) of course. Just the kick I needed before the rest of my night began. That cup of coffee with the bit of sediment settled at the bottom really took me back to Greece, the only thing that would've been more successful at that is Uzzo OPA!

Here's the question; is the love of Hummus, Tzatziki and Taramo Salata enough?

But all this wondering was offset by my highlight of the night seeing Tasha, yes Tasha's Tasha, enjoying a dinner with her girlfriends there. So I will go back just to work on my Greek sensibilities and perhaps do a bit of people spotting.

Fancy a Quickie in the Motherland

I happened (as I always do lol) to be in the new edition to Rosebank, a quaint slightly upmarket mall next to the Firs and in much need of a coffee. As it was after all only 09:00am. I must admit that I was on route to Vida e Caffe when I stumbled across Motherland Coffee, how american of them *chuckle*

The first thing I notice was the cubano/latin ambient music, but I figured it must be an Angolan or Mozambiquan rendition, which is still the Motherland after all Hallelujah! can I get an AMEN! *double chuckle* What I was pleased to learn is that the coffee is an all African blend of Ethiopan Sidamo and Rwandan Kivu.

I choose their Vanilla that morning which is a mild and milky vanilla latte. Lucky for them I like my coffee mild.

While they don't have the finesse of Seattle Coffee Company or the enthusiasm of Vida e Caffe, there is something very earthy and alluring about Motherland that will have me going back for another cup. Even if it is their comfortable couch nook!

Midweek Bellinis

Had lunch at an old favourite last week, Bellinis in Illovo.
We (my mum, brother and his girlfriend) arrive just before the lunch rush on a rainy Joburg day. If you go to Bellinis you have no option but to order their Fillet. Well let me be clear it's not that you have no other option so much as you have limited options because they have a small menu, but their fillet is top noch so anything else that could have been on the menu won't be missed.

I ended  up going for the fillet, egg and chips which is one of my favourite favourite meals (yes I do have a very hearty appetite). The steak is cooked to perfection medium to slightly rare is the way I like it, lightly seasoned topped with an over easy egg and a side of thin crispy french fries. The fillet was absolutely tender and juicy, with a slight iron taste (those who like their meat medium to rare know exactly what taste I mean) and wonderfully seasoned with salt and pepper Perfection. I must admit the fries were a tad too crispen for me and they didn't do pre-salting. Nevertheless it is still the kind of meal you'd want on a rainy day.

The food was good, however it seemed a bit like the chef made half our table's orders together, took a quick break and had them served then proceeded to make the orders for the other half of our table. I'm polite but when faced with a juicy fillet and a bursting yolk egg, I hate having to wait for everyone else's food to arrive.
As Bellinis fills up you realise how small it is, which reminded my family of the New York spaces slightly tightly packed although it would be considered somewhat spacious by New York standards.

All in all, it was a lovely midweek lunch. So if ever you are looking for a new yet very established restaurant to have a steak, try Bellinis! But beware you may need a quick nap after, as I found out at my desk in one of my more embarrassing incidents. Next time I'll go for dinner instead.

Friday, December 3, 2010

All's Fair in Food Wine and Design! Part 2

Now for the main event the Food section of the Food Wine and Design Fair, *cue posh English accent* proudly brought to you by Hyde Park and presented by Sanlam. So what was in the bag?

Yes this is my bag on the passenger seat like a guest, as it should be! Well the foodmarket was wonderful as expected, I mean it was reminiscent of the Old Biscuit Mill, which I wish would pack up it's things leave the beach and settle here with me in the highveld *sigh*

There were oysters which I gobbled up, squeeze of lemon and splash of tobasco, without taking a single picture. They were 12 for R100, which is a steal for something that is renowned for being posh and rich man's food perhaps only a rich man's taste it is. Cheese stalls with tasters all around, wonderful yoghurt stall with lovely bulgarian yoghurt which is available at Pick 'n Pay. Now if only I could remember the name.
Pastry stands, charcuterie on wood and fresh produce tables, I was in absolute heaven.

Now for my highlights:

The mushroom kebabs. I love mushrooms and their earthy taste and they are best prepared lightly seasoned and grilled. These kebabs were earthy salt and smoky with a wonderful assortment of mushrooms. Brown shiitake shime *yum* and they're a great hangover remedy. but watch out for the lady giving me the side eye in the pic lol 

Next are Belle's Patisserie brownies. Do yourself a favour and try the brownies with the honeycomb that has a salty accent that cuts through the wonderful brownie and ganache beautifully plus they're only R8 each. And below are their light whimsical marshmallows

So what made it into the bag Drum Roll Please

Bread from the Vovo Telo stand, love their sourdough,crispy crust and soft slightly and i mean ever so slightly salty sourdough. Basil Pesto from the Pesto Princess (available at Pick 'n Pay) but be warned it's for garlic lovers. Then charcuterie well cured sausages; Chorizo, spicy italian, one with white wine and alot of fennel and another with red wine and paprika. I recall that the charcuterie guy had an apron Honest raw chocolate that is rich smooth chocolatey with slight bitterness and it went amazingly with the organic strawberries and raspberries. Then not be left behind were Belle's Patisserie brownies and the marshmallow. Don't you just think Alice in Wonderland?

Hyde Park's equivalent of a mess hall

It was a wonderful morning spent and worth my R70 entrance. But one word of advice come with an open mind and either a deep pocket or some self restraint.

I just love getting caught up in the foodie buzz and energy with each stall owner selling their produce with gusto much like the way I eat!

All's Fair in Food Wine and Design! Part 1

One of the things that warms my heart is a market, not just any market a foodmarket! But not only does it warm my heart but it empties my pocket and fills my shopper. Last sunday I braved the Jozi flash storms to head over to Hyde Park's Food Wine Design Fair (it's very Hyde Park of them to call it that).
I was not to be put out by the struggle to find parking, or by stepping into the murking puddle i ended up parking next to because a market with food is always worth it.The Fair *cue posh English accent* was tented and set on the roof parking of the centre. I started at the design end that had wonderful pieces but alas too rich for my blood.

 If you look closely you'll see the R20 000 ostrich eggshell champagne bowl. It's beautiful but R20000 hmmm maybe when I'm old and grey sipping on champagne all day!

The bags above, I didn't come across any that were less than R1000. Well not any that I liked at least.

There were many interesting pieces like these chairs. Where i would put them heaven knows but they can double as a secret rubbish bin, now what to do about that odour. lol
Then there were artistic pieces like these that I just couldn't understand and let alone appreciate.
The design fair was a wonderful concept and a great teaser for the foodies, i mean really it was like foreplay wonderful and interesting but I'm here for the big my case the food!

Now for part 2 where we get into the real foodie pleasures.... In the meantime guess what ended up in the jozifoodiefix shopper