Fans of Assaggi will know that the doyenne, Luciana, has left to lend a hand at Il Tartufo, an urban Italian just off Hyde Park corner. It has classic, elegant feel, with cool tiles and patterned fabric, high-backed wood chairs setting the tone. Waist-coated service is very attentive and discreet, making this an ideal business lunch option (along with ample parking). As you’d expect, hearing orders called in Italian from an open kitchen, the cuisine is also classically Italian. The comprehensive menu features daily pasta specials and a few interesting alternatives to the “standard” Italian plates (veal, grilled fish and the like, all cooked “just so”). Starters are around R80-90, mains R150, so its certainly not a budget option, though the quality of the ingredients and the standard of the cooking fills the value gap. A small, well-priced wine list, with as many Italian options as local ones, is another plus. A recent lunch featured a very good spaghetti cozze (R89) from the specials menu, with clear and bright flavours just as advertised – tomato, garlic, chilli – and pasta that was cooked just right. A tiramisu to finish a quick lunch was however ordinary and somewhat dry (R45); and the espresso was average too. But previous meals have been very good indeed, good enough for me to forget this dessert and look forward to another taste of their rabbit ragout or fabulous risotto.
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Il Tartufo, Hyde Park