Café Del Sol TRE in Parkhurst, Johannesburg, the third and latest restaurant in the popular Café Del Sol collection, takes its inspiration from the art deco era. The interior echoes old school glamour and sophistication. I particularly like the cascading pendant lighting - like soft, shiny teardrops. To make the most of the decor, make sure you reserve a table inside. We sat in the outdoor seating area, so sadly our enjoyment of the interior design was limited. It was a rainy, slightly cooler summer’s night and the blankets on the chairs were a nice touch. It’s a pity with all the attention to detail, the drinks menu comes in a plastic folder.
The menu has something for everyone and is fantastic. Thought went into the playful names assigned to dishes, rather than just a plain descriptor of the meal. While we decided whether we were going to ‘Charleston’ do the ‘Harlem Shuffle’ or the ‘Big Parade’, we decided to try a bottle of wine from the Cederberg region, just to be different. We were well rewarded with our choice of the Driehoek 2013 Shiraz, this well awarded wine, was utterly delicious!
To start us off, there was the Charleston, mussels in a creamy garlic and parsley sauce, the heirloom tomato carpaccio and the tempura eggplant melanzane stack. The carpaccio and melanzane were good. The mussels on the other hand were the star of that round. Perfectly cooked and that sauce, wow, every mouthful was packed with flavour from the fresh garlic and herbs.
On to the mains...
Black Lightning - homemade pappardelle (a flat ribbon like pasta noodle), flambéed in whiskey & porcini mushroom cream, served with a crisp textured forest floor, earthy mushroom powder and that secret truffle scent – seriously who could resist! I love mushroom and truffle, so I was sold on this dish.
My dinner companions went for a rocket tagliatelle in the Café Del Sol’s infamous limoncello sauce with prawns and a porcini risotto with mushrooms, peas and truffle scented oil. These dishes were great, flavoursome and well cooked.
The Black Lightning was exceptional. This despite the pappardelle being slightly over cooked and only a few pieces of crisp forest textures on the plate. The flavour combination though works really well, with the truffle just right and not over powering. This dish, the wine, the company made for a great evening out.
We couldn’t resist ending our evening with a slice of Pavlova, together with the restaurant’s take on an Affogato. The Pavlova was good, but the Affogato with its crème brulee ice cream, smoked coffee jelly, hazelnut espresso and a crunchy hazelnut dust, was delicious.
Service started well, but dropped off toward the end with servers just hanging out together and not observing the room.
And no fault of Café Del Sol TRE, the neighbouring establishments can get loud. There was a birthday party and at random times in the evening, there was loud music being played, and granted it never went on for very long but it does kill the vibe when you are having dinner.
Over all, a really good food experience. That varied menu will bring us back.