Recently, we celebrated the engagement of a family member, an auspicious occasion that called for dinner at a classy restaurant. Residing in the heart of the southern suburbs means there is no shortage of such restaurants, but as is normally the case, fancy eateries come with even fancier prices.
The solution to our predicament could be found at the authentic Italian ristorante, Volaré is an extension of Constantia hotspot, Peddlars and Co.
After being promptly shown to your table, one of the first things you should notice is the decor. It is simple, intimate and understated yet holds a classy appeal. While ornate light features hang from above, the assortment of plush beige chairs and blue settees, wooden floors and its all-round simplicity makes you feel right at home.
Our waitress doled out menus and a string of wine and food suggestions with an unwavering smile upon her face. While good cuisine is generally the desirable outcome, a dining experience with friendly, attentive staff is all the more enjoyable.
Volaré sticks to the Italian tradition of offering a five-course meal. On a budget and possessing only one stomach, we opted for three out of the five courses – the antipasti, primi and dolce.
As one can imagine the main ingredients in the calamaretti are seafood based – calamari and squid. What makes the dish unique are the inclusion of toppings that are not typically associated with calamari; chickpeas slathered in pesto sauce and olive oil. Despite my initial hesitancy at the unusual pairing, the different flavours and textures complemented each other well. The Italians sure know how to do it with this tasty little number.
Known for sticking to ‘safer’ meals, my chosen primi was a pesto pasta. I expected a pleasant yet entirely forgettable pasta dish, but I was completely wrong. This is not a quick throw together you can quickly whip up in your kitchen at home. Rich, creamy and flavoursome – this is a dish recommended to vegetarians who have grown tired of being served up mushy peas, gem squash and mash. And the secret ingredient? Generous dollops of creme fraiche.
As there were too many desserts to decide on just one, our final course was done family-style by sharing. Being at an authentic Italian restaurant it’s a travesty to not try the tiramisu. Sweet, rich and of an ample size, to say that it was one of the best tiramisus I’ve had for a while is no exaggeration. What’s more, it was tastefully decorated with a single golden leaf, and a splurge of chocolate sauce on the side. Having a teenage male in the family meant that ordering a chocolatey dessert was unavoidable, and a chocolate fondant was just the ticket. Comprising of moist cake and hot, melted chocolate, it’s a decadent dessert recommended to chocolate lovers. To mellow out all that sweetness, we tried out the lemon tart. We were not disappointed by its zesty (but not overly sour) flavour.
Together with its convivial atmosphere, attentive staff and good food, Valoré offers an unparalleled dining experience to its patrons and is certainly a little Italy away from Italy.
Where Spaanschemat River Road, Constantia
When Daily 11 am – 11 pm
Contact +27 21 794 7747, www.peddlars.co.za