The majestic architectural wonder that is Mandela Rhodes Place houses not only a hotel and spa but a central atrium that boasts various shops and restaurants. I had the pleasure of dining at Doppio Zero, one of the resident restaurants.
The Euro-Cape cafe is an extension of the open-spaced atrium, with doors opening onto it giving the restaurant a relaxed alfresco feeling although the ceiling-high glass windows, the simplistic yet luxurious finishes and the well-lit interior reminded me of the modern sophistication found in top class restaurants such as Beluga. The dining area was well-laid out with, vitally, enough space between each table to allow privacy, although still allow the patrons to be part of the bustling ambience.
Against the window was an assortment of authentically baked artisan breads for which the restaurant is renowned. Above our beautifully decorated table was an eye-catching wall feature of Table Mountain and Cape Town, although my attention was quickly diverted by the intense smell of garlic and the aroma of a wood-fired oven drifting from the kitchen which made my taste buds scream that scanning the menu was an immediate priority.
From the very reasonably priced cocktail menu I chose a classic Pina Colada which was good but not nearly as adventurous as my plus one’s Vanilla Whiskey Sour – an interesting combination of premium scotch whiskey with lemon and Madagascan vanilla-infused sugar.
Already impressed by the little nutty rolls we’d been nibbling on, I scanned the menu with interest. There’s a huge range on offer, from sandwiches and soups to pizza and pasta and on to steak, lamb and seafood. Oh yes, and a wide variety of vegetarian options too. We opted to stick with what the restaurant is best known for: their pizzas and pastas.
I was undeniably envious of my plus one’s pasta choice, the Pasta Loco, a generous portion of Fettuccine pasta mixed with soft roasted butternut, crispy bacon and tender chicken served with the most heavenly creamy gorgonzola sauce. The verdict was unanimous: it was the most divine and decadent pasta we had tasted at a restaurant.
My pizza was half Don Vito and half Vegi Vegi, recommended by our friendly waiter Chris. The herby chicken, creamy avocado and the combined sweet and spicy flavour of the pepperdews from the Don Vito half instantly won me over. And the Vegi Vegi – as promised basically all the veggies you could balance on a pizza – also contained pine nuts and a dash of pesto: a sublime sensation of tastes and textures.
The obvious esteem in which the restaurant is held by its own staff is a recommendation in itself. The pride of the manager, Shamira, was eminent and I saw her regularly flitting between the tables, greeting customers and making conversation. For many, it was clearly not their first time there. Somehow, that doesn’t surprise me.
Doppio Zero cafes can be found at Mandela Rhodes Place, cnr St George’s Mall & Church St; 81 Main Rd, Greenpoint and Cavendish Connect, Claremont.