Confusion reigned on the floor and by the end of the evening the bathroom looked like an Indonesian airport’s. Gemelli was spinning on a Monday night, barely holding on while trying to cope with the hungry, boisterous patrons, some guests bearing helium balloons and descending on large party tables, other guests looking rather lost amongst the melee at their tables for two.
We were approached by a succession of waiters with no-one managing to take firm hold after a swarming start… on one occasion a replacement bottle of wine arrived and was placed, unopened, on the table, where it stood for ten minutes, waiters rushing by, before I managed to get the cork pulled. How I missed a Swiss army knife then. On another occasion, there was an auction of starters at our table – an unordered antipasti platter that arrived with our calamari. The waiter was convinced we had ordered it. After tasting the calamari, it was so good, we should probably have kept the antipasti plate.
And then, through all this chaos, the kitchen at Gemelli sent our table bowl after bowl of near flawless pasta. Bright and pure flavours and very good textures marked all of them, from the classic to more modern combinations. Notable was the use of crunchy textures (seed crumble, pancetta crumble) to offset the unctuousness of the pasta and the creamy sauces.
In looks, the interior of Gemelli is very much more on the designer end than any Italian chain or indeed any of the old-school Italian restaurants of Johannesburg. It also looks better when not completely packed, so that you can sit back and get to notice details like the dynamic mural behind the bar. So if you can, go for a weekday lunch for the best experience – but if they can cook like this on a chaotic Monday, anytime is also fine.
Posthouse Link Centre, Cnr Main Rd & Posthouse Str, Bryanston
010 591 4333