The Finest Meal I (N)ever Ate

The Finest Meal I (N)ever Ate

PomPic (Medium)For years I have been saying that restaurants are so much more than just the food they serve. They are about service, about atmosphere, about the staff, about the welcome but more than anything else they are about how they make you feel. I was treated to a reminder of that last Tuesday evening when I was invited, along with a group of social media misfits (present company included) to a sampling dinner at Pomodoro Ristorante in Morningside, Sandton.

Now this was like sitting down to dinner with “The Seven Psychopaths.” There was the “phone throwing theater vigilante” the “indefatigable wench with the purple hair and purple everything else” the “wine drinking soon to be Uber customer restaurant marketer” the “legal drug pusher, well that’s her story” there was “hook, line and sink her with the soon to be treated brows” the “multicultural restaurant owner from no known origin” and of course there was little old me who was clearly invited to make the others look normal. Let us not forget Lucky (or perhaps Unlucky in this case) the poor waiter who had clearly drawn the short straw and was expected to look after us for the evening.PomPic (1) (Medium)

So sitting at the table is a LOT of ego, a LOT of opinion, a LOT of social clout and only a little bit of knowledge. Just kidding, these guys know their food and they know their wine, which is a lot more than can be said about me. I know the restaurant industry, I understand the nuances and maybe that is why they tolerate me. It is important to understand that I have the most terrible eating habits and anyone who has had to prepare a dish for me will vouch for that. I eat nothing saucy, no vegetables, no salad, and hardly any fruit and as I look back over the past fifty four years, it’s a bloody miracle that I survived.

You see I could have written that the entire evening was a disaster, that I never enjoyed a single dish, they simply do not cater for all their customer’s needs and that the restaurant should be avoided at all costs. NO! This is a restaurant you can spend an evening in EVEN if you don’t eat anything. Now, that my friends, is a very special place.

Now let me talk a little about the food that was raved about by all at the table. We were presented with a set menu offering two choices for each course but on the insistence of Stefano (He of no known origin) all dishes were served to us in the center of the table to be photographed, as we all do nowadays, enjoyed and discussed.

PomPic (3) (Medium)First to arrive was the Pizza con salsiccia e carciofini con mozzarella fior di latte | Pizza with Italian sausage meat and artichoke hearts with fior di latte mozzarella. Wow that disappeared fast, with the foodies swooning over the creamier mozzarella and the Italian sausage directly from Oakland’s Butchery. The last few scraps where arm wrestled over for cold breakfast pizza. (Didn’t eat a bite of this)

Next up was Gnocchi di patate con funghi e tartufo | Homemade potato gnocchi with wild mushrooms and truffle paste favourite of the drug pusher who I think could have eaten this all night long. More rave reviews from the others and the questions about why I am not eating are starting and I am giving them “the history of my life” part one. (none for me!)PomPic (5) (Medium)

Tagliolini al nero di seppia con gamberetti, pomodorini e pesto | Homemade squid ink tagliolini with prawn tails, baby tomatoes and basil pesto arrives next on the table to more photo ops and gushing. “Homemade squid ink tagliolini”? I wanna know who makes squid ink tagliolini in their home and more importantly I want to know why they do it. I often see “Homemade” on a menu and wonder of it should rather say “homegrown recipe” but that is just being a little picky. (can’t tell you what it tasted like but it looked good)

At last something I eat arrives at the table, please remember this entirely by my own choice and design; this is no reflection on the restaurant or the quality of the food they prepare. This is also something I wish the RJW’s (Restaurant Justice Warriors) would consider before taking to Facebook and other channels to slate a restaurant they have just visited. Enter the Filetto di pesce con finocchio e patatine | grilled line fish filet with fennel relish and baby potatoes. Silverfish I believe, was tasty, moist and much appreciated after watching everyone else scoff down the food! (yes I tasted this… yippee!)

PomPic (2) (Medium)The final main course arrived Pancia di maiale al forno con pure di patate | Baked pork belly with rosemary and garlic served with homemade potato pure and it is embarrassing to watch grownups fight over food and who gets to lick the plate! Ok, it wasn’t quite like that but “hook, line and sink her” was certainly in her element and raving about his one. (not a morsel passed my lips, Rabbi) Perhaps I forgot to mention that the dishes where matched with some remarkable (or so I am told as I do not drink) wines provided by Dieu Donne Vineyards, perhaps one of the others will elaborate on this in their own writing.

Dessert was served off the menu and by the way the tiramisu went down and the fact that the “theater vigilante” ordered an extra scoop of sorbet, I am guessing they were very well received.

So I barely ate a thing, drank none of the wine and skipped on dessert because I was two days into “another” body transformation, why the heck am I blogging on this and not just chalking it up to a total restaurant disaster? Because, my friends, I walked out of their feeling fantastic! Surely any place you visit where you leave happier than when you arrived is worth a mention? I know this one is.

I am not implying even for a second that customers should settle for substandard food! In fact I have always said that only a small percentage of customers can tell good from great food but almost everyone can recognise great service at a mile away. Hats off to Pomodoro Ristorante in Morningside for scoring ten out of ten from this fussy, non-eating, pain-in-the-arse, for-heavens-sake-do-it-my-way, social-media-junkie. If you guys could make me happy that night, well you should be able to satisfy almost anyone.

Located in: Morningside Shopping Centre
Address: Morningside Shopping Centre, Rivonia Rd, Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa
Phone:+27 87 940 3811
Hours: Open today · 12–9:30PM

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