Bistro Sixteen82 Italian plates to share

 This past Saturday, we braved the cold and wet and headed to BistroSixteen82 for dinner – or, more specifically, for a tour through Italy with Chef Brad Ball’s ‘small plates’.

Before I go any further, I believe it’s important to clarify that these are not tapas – these are generous, delicious portions, made to share.

We have had a long-standing love affair with the Bistro – for breakfast here, and lunch here – and knew Brad would whip up some sort of magic for dinner.

Walking through the tasting room, with the signature chandelier, I was a little worried that the Bistro would seem cold and cavernous – but we were surprised at how cosy it was. With a little gas fire going and comfortable, padded seats – we were happy to call this ‘home’ for the rest of the evening.

The ‘small plates’ menu offers ten dishes, to be ordered and shared – we were treated to seven of them. We started with the zucchini fritters and polpetta – both starting the evening on a high note. The meatballs were juicy, served in a rich tomato sauce with just the right amount of chilli. The zucchini fritters were not something I would have normally ordered – but they arrived light and crunchy, with the most delicious tomato butter. We could have happily dined on a bucket of those for dinner.

Obviously, as this is Steenberg Wine Estate, there was naturally, wine. We started with their Chardonnay MCC, before moving on to their Nebbiolo – a varietal that we had never tasted before.

‘This medium bodied Nebbiolo is light in colour with dried prunes and apricots, perfume, spice and potpourri on the nose. Soft oaky notes support the wine well and add weight to the finish. Big tannins, unique to Nebbiolo, give the wine backbone and structure. Earthy notes on the aftertaste and a good acidity. ‘

The next two dishes arrived – spatchcock quail and the arancini – both dishes a first for us. We followed the Chef’s recomendations and ate the quail with our hands – tender and served with olives and grilled lemon, it was a good bird.

The arancini – stuffed with tallegio and truffle oil, served atop Hollandaise – is the ultimate comfort food. Enjoyed on a couch, under a blanket while watching a movie – hello, winter.

It was time for another wine change – this time, the Semillon – a varietal we both know and love.

‘The wine is light gold with green hues in colour, with ripe tropical fruit and limes on the nose. Peach, apricots, lime and a hint of spice on the palate gives adds complexity, ending with a mineral core. Great structure and length with a soft creaminess that lingers, and fresh acidity lends length to the wine.’

Swiftly, another two dishes arrived to the table – the beef tataki and the zuppa di cozze. The tataki is one of our signature Bistro dishes – the pure ingredients and balance of flavours are exceptional. It will always be a winner – if Brad removes it from the menu, we will riot.

The zuppa di cozze was a thick and rich mussel soup – in a smooth, almost puree-like tomato and chilli soup with a garlic butter soaked toast (just the way it should be), it was another winter winner.

We ended our meal with coffee and petit fours – truffles, tiramisu and limoncello. A delicious tour through Italy, our time at the Bistro was well spent – and devoured. The small plates menu changes monthly – with China (think delicious dim sum) on the cards for July, we can’t wait for the calendar to tick over.

Special – purchase 2 Tapas and a glass of Klein Steenberg Wine for R120 (valid until end November 2014).

We enjoyed our meal as guests of BistroSixteen82. All images and views are my own.

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