“You will gain 20 to 30 pounds” and “No matter how great…there will come a day when it is just a job” were on a list of 25 things you should know before you become a restaurant critic as seen in the Washingtonian (Thanks Dax for sharing. I will put the link at the end).
Excuse me while I get fat.
It’s true. After a while, eating gets tough and the worst thing is that no one else understands it or believes you. I could ramble on about this for days, but that’s not what this review is about. This review is about how sometimes, when you least feel like eating out, a restaurant will surprise you.
Cue: Primi Piatti.
Primi is one of the restaurants that I’m judging in the V&A Waterfront, “Master of the Trade Route Culinary Challenge”. To me, Primi has always been a place you go to for pizza or pasta and nothing else. But when I begrudgingly began looking through the menu in order to prepare my body and mind for the carb-fest that was about to occur, excitement hit me like a squash-racket to the face.
The Primi menu has gotten quite interesting.
We started with a 500ml bottle of very nice and affordable Bob’s Your Uncle red wine for just R40 along with three starters served on a platter.
Spicy chicken livers (R39) sautéed with lemon, garlic, onion and chilli and served with a BBQ sauce. They had a lovely flavour, but were fried just a little too long. Although spicy, I couldn’t taste the chilli and after I classily sticking my finger in the sauce to taste it, we left it untouched – a completely unnecessary addition.
The beef carpaccio (R60) was allegedly served with marinated black mushrooms, capers, pecorino shavings & rocket, then dressed with olive oil and lemon juice. The shrooms weren’t marinated at all and the pecorino was more of a slice than a shave. However, it was an enormous portion of perfectly sliced carpaccio and capers, beef and rocket were great together.
Finally we had what I thought was going to be my least favourite of the three; grilled haloumi lettuce wraps (R42) topped with a sweet and sour salsa with a cucumber and mint yoghurt dip. THESE WERE AMAZING. I could easily have had a few more. The salty haloumi wasn’t too oily, was deliciously chewy and balanced perfectly with the crisp cos lettuce and sharp salsa. Amazing I tell you.
For our main, my friend had the lamb shank with gnocci (+-R140), which was supposed to be braised in a broth, served with red wine, rosemary and garlic Napoletana. I wasn’t sure what happened to the Napoletana, but the sauce the shanks seemed to be just your traditional lamb gravy. The gnocci was fabulous but the entire dish could have done with a crunchy veg. All this said, I devoured the leftovers the next day, very happily.
I had the fusion dish as my main. An enormous portion of seared tuna (R120) in a citrus, ginger and soy reduction, on a bed of baby spinach and wasabi mash and topped with coriander. The tuna was impeccably cooked, the reduction was delicious and the baby spinach and mash were perfect accompaniments.
For dessert we had the Chocolate Nemesis (R39) – a flourless chocolate cake served with a hazelnut ice cream shot. The ice cream was lightly flavoured and once poured over the cake it was a delicious combo. A strange little dessert but, as much as I hate the word, very moreish.
We also had the Baked cheesecake (R39) with a blueberry compote. Very pretty, very nice, too full to eat more than a mouthful.
I had mixed feelings towards the night. The atmosphere was amazing. The restaurant is very well designed. The menu is bit long, but well thought out – it’s just a pity that not everything was as it said.
I thought I was going to be forced to have pizza or pasta, but there is a huge range of dishes to choose from. Primi has grown up, let’s give them a chance to find themselves.
PS: Here is the link to 25 things you should know before becoming a restaurant critic. It’s all true. Except I haven’t had hate-mail (yet), just a hate-blog.