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The Italian Job

HL's food editor Raphaella Frame discovers the latest delectable dining spot in the City Bowl, and gives its traditional Sicilian fare two thumbs up...

Capetonians are a notoriously picky bunch when it comes to eating out. It may be a contributing factor to the high calibre of many of the restaurants around Cape Town. So the fact that Il Cappero, (Italian for ‘the caper’)—possibly one of the City Bowl’s best-kept secrets—is in a slightly less salubrious location than most, may act as a deterrent. Those comfortable enough to venture into this unassumingly fronted restaurant next door the Parliament Hotel, however, will be rewarded with some of the most authentic and delicious Sicilian cuisine Cape Town has to offer.

Il Cappero is owned and run by husband-and-wife team Aldo and Cetti Bezzicheri. Aldo’s Roman roots are apparent—he is charming as can be as he manages the front of house. Petite Cetti, originally from Palermo in Sicily, heads things up in the kitchen, working her magic on locally sourced ingredients to recreate traditional and absolutely moreish dishes from her Italian homeland.

You won’t find the usual Italian suspects such as pizza or gnocchi on their menu, and there is also a section of the list dedicated to those who favour more local dishes. But the majority of what’s on offer consists of what can only be described as absolutely delightful food.

Aldo and Cetti have sourced some exceptional Italian cheeses for the antipasto misto platter (including melt-in-the-middle, oozy Stracciatella Puglia, made with mozzarella and cream). The platter comes with slices of Coppa ham and salty Bresaola as well as delicious bread and, obviously, olive oil.

There is plenty of aubergine on the menu, used in a variety of tasty dishes, from the more commonly known (comforting and delicious) melanzane Parmigiana, to caponata di melanzane—aubergine, tomato, capers and olives in a sweet and sour sauce (served cold). The pasta alla Norma, a traditional dish created in homage to Bellini and his opera Bella Norma, is simple but perfect and is made with Ricotta cheese, tomato and aubergine nuggets that literally melt in your mouth.

There is also pasta con Ricci on the menu (linguini made with sea-urchin roe)—a favourite among Sicilians; and penne con gamberi e pesto di mandorle (penne with almonds, olives and lemony prawns cooked in dry Martini). The risotto changes every day according to what’s available, and there are also a host of meaty and fish options such as veal or often swordfish.

Their Tiramisu is feather light and what a Tiramisu should be, but the piece-de-la-resistance may well be the cannolo Siciliano, a crispy biscuit tube filled with Ricotta cream—Il Cappero maybe one of the only places you will find cannoli in Cape Town. The wine and drinks list is comprised of an equally wonderful Italian selection, from Brunellos and Chianti, to bang up Italian coffees and liqueurs such as Grappa and Limoncello.

Don’t expect designer interiors and don’t expect a romantic location. Do order more than one thing from the menu, go with a healthy appetite and good company, and the superlative, authentic cuisine will do the rest.

 

Lunch - Thursday and Friday, 12:30 to 2:30pm

Dinner - Monday to Saturday, 6:30 to close

 

Il Cappero, 3 Barrack Street, Cape Town, 021-461-3168.

ilcappero.co.za

 

Please see their mouth-watering menu below:

 

ANTIPASTI

ZUPPA DEL GIORNO R40

Soup of the day

ANTIPASTO MISTO R75

Cheese and salami platter

Italian style starter

TORTINO DI PARMIGIANO AL PEPE ROSA R70

Parmesan cake cooked  in bain-marie

with crème, eggs, balsamic vinegar and pink pepper

SOUFFLE’ DI MELANZANE R70

Eggplants crème, thyme, parsley, pine nut and cheese

PARMIGIANA DI MELANZANE R75

Eggplants, mozzarella, parmesan, basil

CAPONATA DI MELANZANE R40

Eggplants, tomato, capers, olives

cooked in a delicious sweet and sour sauce

CACIO ALL’ARGENTERA R50

Fresh cheese pan fried with oil, vinegar and origanum

 

MAIN COURSE:   LA PASTA

TAGLIATELLE AL PESTO SICILIANO R65

Fresh basil, almonds, virgin oil, tomato and cheese pecorino

PASTA ALLA “NORMA” R70

Norma is the protagonist of the highest lyric composition by Bellini

tomato sauce, eggplants and ricotta

CARBONARA R70

No need for presentation

you can order short or long pasta

LASAGNE ALLA BOLOGNESE R95

Rich meat sauce, intense flavor

RISOTTO DEL GIORNO R70

PENNE CON GAMBERI E PESTO DI MANDORLE R85

Almonds, olives, prawns and lemon zest

 

MAIN COURSE:  LA CARNE

FIORENTINA R90

Prime T-bone steak grilled as you like, served with chips or baked potatoes

and onion rings

CONTROFILETTO R90

Sirloin steak grilled as you like, served with chips or baked potato

and onion rings

FILETTO IN SALSA BERNESE R110

Served with aromatic rice

INVOLTINI DI VITELLO ALLA SICILIANA R95

Meat veal rolls stuffed  with pine nut, raisins, onion, bay leaves

MAIN COURSE:  IL PESCE

CALAMARI CASSEROLE R80

With  asparagus and tomato, served with rice

FRITTURA DI CALAMARI R75

Calamari rings served with chips or rice

POLPETTE DI PESCE IN SALSA R85

Fish cakes with tomato sauce

A special Sicilian recipe

PESCATO DEL GIORNO R75

Catch of the day grilled and served with rice

 

CONTORNI Side dish

PEPERONI ARROSTITI R40

Oven roasted pepper

with vinegar, bread crumbs and pine nuts

VEGETALI  STUFATI R40

Stewed carots, cabbage and green beans cooked with aromatic herbs

PATATINE FRITTE R30

Fried chips

PATATE AL FORNO R40

Baked potatoes

INSALATA VERDE R40

Green salad

 

Our sauces: R15

Pepper

Bernese

Guacamole

Mushroom

Rosemary walnut sauce

 

DESSERT

SEMIFREDDO DI PISTACCHIO R50

Ice cream with pistachio, chocolate and rice

MOUSSE AL CIOCCOLATO R50

Chocolate mousse

CANNOLO SICILIANO R35

Crispy biscuit filled with ricotta cream

TIRAMISU R45

MALVA PUDDING R50

FRUIT SALAD AND ICE CRÈME R40

 

LIQUORS

Limoncello R25

Grappa R30

Passito R20

Marsala R20

Amarula R15

Amaro Ramazzotti R18

 

CAFFE

Espresso R13

Double espresso R18

Americano R15

Cappuccino R15

 

LOCAL SPECIALITY

 

STARTER

CHICKEN WINGS R40

Juicy marinated, served with crispy golden brown chips

ROAST CHICKEN SALAD R50

Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrots, onion rings and roast

chicken strips

MAIN COURSE

BOBOTIE R85

A traditional South  African  recipe, served with rice

PORTUGUESE CHICKEN R75

Grilled chicken breast with a hot & spicy tomato sauce

served with baked potatoes  or rice

CHICKEN CURRY R70

Served with rice, lettuce and tomato

BBQ CHICKEN WINGS (Full Portion) R80

Juicy marinated served with chips

LAMB CURRY R80

Served with rice, lettuce and tomato