I’ve never eaten a pizza in the Winelands. Ever.
Don’t get me wrong, I live for a good old slice of thin-based, cheesy goodness – I’ve just never seen one on a Winelands menu (let’s face it, you’re more likely to come across some inventive chef’s ‘deconstructed pizza’ than anything a Neapolitan would recognise).
Last weekend at Allée Bleue all that changed.
We sat down in the airy courtyard of this lovely estate’s restaurant to sample its fairly recent pizza and pasta menu. I know right? The rest of the world launching its airy-fairy summer picnics, and Allée Bleue comes out of left field with wintery comfort food. But bugger the stereotypes and farewell to Banting – the rustic pizza struck the perfect balance between crispiness and cheese and was piled so high with bacon, chorizo, Parma ham, caramelized onions, Brie and a touch of Dijon mustard, I’d go back in 35 degree heat. Turns out there’s a time and a place for pizza in summer after all, and that’s lunchtime at Allée Bleue (daily if you’re lucky).
Pasta doesn’t often give pizza a run for its money while I linger over a menu, but the handmade gnocchi and tortellini options put up a good fight this time, and my dining companion’s tender gnocchi with delicately flavoured mushrooms in a drizzle of truffle oil hits the spot for those looking for something a bit lighter.
What I love to see in a kitchen (even more than a big pizza pie – that’s amore) is a good collab. The Italian menu is the result of Allée Bleue’s head chef Ian Laubscher consulting with celebrated chef Craig Cormack (formerly of Overture and Sofia’s). What they’ve created is a short but satisfying menu of handmade pasta and pizza, with vegetarian options as tempting as their meaty counterparts.
We advise leaving any carb-guilt at the door but if you’ll feel better with salad at your elbow, then you’ll enjoy the Herb Trolley. Allée Bleue is known for its 28 herb tunnels, the produce of which is used in the estate kitchens and sold at various retailers. It also comes fresh to your table on the trolley, and you can pick and choose from the assortment of baby salad leaves and microgreens to accompany your Italian affair.
And if you’re wondering about those picnics, they have those covered too. But you’ll find me firmly planted in front of another slice of that heavenly pizza…
Where Allée Bleue, intersection of R45 and R310
When Though initially a pizza and pasta pop-up concept, the menu will be available until further notice
Contact +27 21 874 1021, www.alleebleue.co.za
Photography Courtesy, Jade Cooke