Press / News


BOCCA’S NEW MENU HEATS UP FOR SUMMER IN CAPE TOWN

South Africa, Cape Town, 26 September 2019; IT’S been a busy year for BOCCA, the bustling Italian eatery in the heart of Bree Street, Cape Town’s ‘restaurant mile’. Under new ownership – experienced restaurateurs Guido and Adnana Brambilla – BOCCA’s refreshed décor and inspired urban Italian menu have kept local foodies, and savvy tourists, flocking to one of the city’s most talked-about restaurants.

BOCCA was a completely new adventure for us, but we have learned so much from the last year,” says Adnana. “We learned a lot about our own operations and we learned about making it through the quiet winter season. But most importantly we have learned a lot about what Capetonians like to eat!

And with the weather in the Mother City warming up for summer BOCCA’s menu is on the move, with much-loved favourites returning and a host of new plates to tempt local palates.

The menu is a living beast,” chuckles Guido, whose cheffing experience stretches from Milan to Bermuda and back again. “It changes all the time. For spring and summer we have brought in many new dishes to encourage Capetonians and tourists to come back to BOCCA for another visit.”

There’s certainly a new focus on seafood on the revamped menu, with Guido blending local produce with Italian inspiration.

There is such great seafood on offer in South Africa, and the quality is fantastic,” he says.

In the ‘BITES’ selection of small-plates Guido pays tribute to a long tradition of raw seafood in Italian cuisine, bringing Puglia to the Cape Peninsula in his Fish Tartare of ‘Western Cape waters catch’. Putting freshness first, all that’s needed to bring this crudo to life is a deft touch with spring onions, olives, oregano and a dash of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Served on crostini, it’s the perfect plate for summer.

The popular Fritto Misto of crispy calamari, white bait and mussels returns to the menu for summer, alongside a superb plate of Italian-style Prawns. Simply seasoned with olive oil, white wine and lemon juice, they’re flash-roasted in the wood-burning pizza oven to lock in flavour.

Because of the high temperature and the moisture inside the oven it is just perfect for flash-roasting certain dishes,” says Guido. “For me the best way to cook prawns is with the head and shell still on. It gives so much flavour to the dish.”

Guido is already famous for using his authentic Acunto oven for far more than just the ever-popular pizzette. At the end of the evening larger cuts of beef, lamb, poultry and pork are slow-roasted overnight for the following day’s meat-driven plates.

The bowl of Beef Short-rib makes the best of both worlds. Whole ribs are slow-cooked overnight in red wine and bay leaves, before being deboned, sliced and flash-roasted to order.

The high temperature caramelises the crust of the meat just slightly, but keeps the inside beautifully soft and moist,” says Guido.

But during service the imported Italian oven also turns out a steady stream of hand-made pizzette, each cooked in under 90 seconds at 640°C. Because they’re rolled slightly smaller than a traditional pizza – roughly 25cm across – they allow diners to discover different plates and flavours.

While it’s not easy for Guido to shake up the selection of pizzette – “whenever we try to take off some flavours our regulars complain!” says Guido – the summer menu includes a handful of delicious new creations.

In step with the lighter summer-ready approach, the Gnappo is a pizza bianca with no tomato sauce on the base. Topped with mozzarella and fontina cheese, prosciutto cotto from charcutier Richard Bosman and oven-roasted leeks, “it’s a pizza that’s all about simplicity, but it’s a perfect combination of flavours,” says Guido.

And Capetonians love bold flavours, adds Adnana: “They love garlic. They love chilli. That makes us happy, because it means we can be very adventurous with our dishes.”

Locals will certainly love the new San Remo pizza then, inspired by the flavours and traditions of Liguria in western Italy. Similar to the sardenara, a regional specialty with links to the French pissaladière, the San Remo packs a flavour punch of tomato, anchovies, capers, olives, oregano and garlic.

It’s very simple, with good strong flavours,” says Guido. “And because there’s no cheese topping it’s fresh, summery and light.”

If it’s light bites you’re after, the new cheese and charcuterie platters are ideal, and a perfect pairing for the after-work cocktails and aperitivos BOCCA has become famous for.

But this is an Italian restaurant, so of course there must be pasta. BOCCA only uses imported Rummo pasta, as it’s “the best durum wheat pasta you can get in South Africa,” says Guido.

The latest addition is the Pasta alla Norma, a classic of Sicilian cuisine fusing eggplant, tomato and garlic with silky cacioricotta cheese.

Another standout is the Spago di Mare, the spaghetti tossed in a flavour-packed reduction of mussel broth and prawn stock. Topped with fresh seafood and a sprinkle of roasted cherry tomatoes for sweetness, it’s in the running for Guido’s favourite dish at BOCCA. 

I’m not joking, every time I make this dish I inhale the aroma that comes up from the pan and it’s just pure joy!” laughs Guido.

His traditional Truffle Carbonara is made in the authentic tradition, with nothing more than free-range eggs, cured guanciale, pecorino, truffle oil and lots of black pepper. But here there’s no spaghetti, rather the broad tubes of penne candela for soaking up the silky sauce.

To finish? Always a little dolce, and the dessert selection has also had a shake-up for summer.

Alongside Guido’s classic Tiramisu the new Semifreddo is a sure-fire summer hit, topped with seasonal strawberries and spiced cashews. But when the mercury spikes the new Granita al Caffe is a must.

To make this classic Sicilian treat a mixture of espresso, almond liqueur and sugar syrup is slowly frozen, with regular whipping to break up the ice crystals. The espresso-flavoured ice is then served in a glass, topped with whipped cream, chocolate shavings and toasted almonds.

Everybody in Cape Town loves coffee, so we thought let’s give it a try,” says Guido. “It’s so good, so refreshing and flavourful.”

BOCCA is open for lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday from noon until 22h00. Please note that last orders are taken at 21h30.

BOCCA is situated at The Block, corner of Bree St & Wale Street, Cape Town City Centre. For more information visit www.bocca.co.za. For bookings call 021 422 0188 or email info@bocca.co.za. Connect on social media via @BoccaCT on Twitter; @boccaCT on Facebook; and bocca_ct on Instagram.For press assistance contact Ian or Lise Manley of Manley Communications on premierbrands@manley-communications.com or call 0861 MANLEY (626 539), visit the Press Room of Manley Communications at www.manley-communications.com

AN URBAN RECHARGE AND WINTER TASTE TREAT WITH LOVE FROM BOCCA

South Africa, Cape Town, May 2019; MINGLING urban city hip with classic Italian passion for plentiful tables and loads of mouth-watering plates, BOCCA is upping the gastronomic stakes with two Winter taste treats you won’t want to miss from Bree Street’s hottest city eatery offering a refined yet relaxed dining experience.

Set to stoke the Italian passion in your belly, BOCCA’s ‘ONE ON US’ special for the month of June will have all your gastronomic senses firing when it ups the ante by offering a plate for free for every four plates ordered to the table; the cheapest one being compliments of owners Guido and Adnana Brambilla who are known for their dedicated hands-on approach overseeing this popular dining venue on Cape Town’s gourmet boulevard.

For urbanites looking for reprieve from demanding work schedules, BOCCA’S ‘AFTERNOON RECHARGE’, served everyday between 15h00 and 18h00, will stimulate energy levels and enhance one’s mood with an assortment of cheese and a fine selection of cold cuts served rustic-style on a board with wood-fired rosemary focaccia from the pizza oven for R105, to be enjoyed with a wine pairing suggestions from Adnana.

“You can come by yourself and sit at the counter for a glass of wine and a few small plates or arrive as a group and experience a selection of dishes. The portion sizes allow you to order a few plates to discover different flavours. For us, BOCCA is really a place for people to connect over food. It’s our happy place and hopefully yours too.”

In typical Italian style, BOCCA’s menu offers a range of tasty plates to spin your head in delicious indecision if you were having to make only one choice. Thankfully you don’t; in true Italian-style abundance you are invited to have the pleasure of exploring all their different taste offerings on the new Winter Menu.

Unswerving pizza lovers can still enjoy the BOCCA ‘PIZZETTE’ (roughly 25cm across) which satisfies with its Neapolitan-style wood-fired quick puff crust and unusual flavour combinations. Vegetarians should take note of the Foresta with wild mushrooms, rosemary, mascarpone, and parmesan shavings, all drizzled with truffle oil, while popular demand is seen with the Amatriciana, served with Bosman’s cured pork guanciale, roasted cherry tomatoes, braised onion and Pecorino cheese.

Their PESCE menu section offers delectable dishes which hail from the sea. All about uncomplicated Italian flavours to underpin its freshness, the Carpaccio of yellow tuna is served with micro greens, the Polpo, sees tasty Octopus served with baby potatoes and basil pesto. Certain to satisfy the stomach, fill up with the Spago di Mare, a flavourful steaming seafood pasta or try out the Mussel fritters with a lemony zest.

The VERDURE selection offers an exploration in new flavours, such is the Sicilian Caponata, a fusion of eggplant, bell peppers, olives, capers, basil, pine nuts and cacioricotta served with crostino. The Cauliflower Bites tease your taste buds with a combination of anchovies, sun dried tomatoes and an almond dressing; while you can’t miss out on the Ortofritto, a crispy fried basket of zucchini, artichokes, spring onion and broccoli, topped with fresh rocket leaves.

Winter warmers is what the CARNE selection is all about. Go for Beef Tartare of hand cut Angus rump or Chicken Liver pate served with crostini. Aimed straight to the heart, the Polpette Al Sugo is an unmissable dish of traditional-style meatballs of beef and pork to deliver a combination of delightful taste surprises. Italian flavoured Ragu, Fusili pasta combined with a beef and pork sauce, rosemary bechamel and provolone cheese; or try the Truffle Carbonara. Succulent with flavours is the 12-hour slow roasted BOCCA leg of Lamb with wild mushrooms, thyme and plenty of garlic or as delicious and tender, the Angus short rib. Alternatively, go straight for the Trippa, an Angus beef tripe stew with white beans, sausage, mint, parmesan and pecorino or expand your choice with some of the other CARNE selections on the Winter menu.

It’s always advisable to leave space for dessert, especially when in the company of Italian-inspired chefs such as Guido. On his DOLCI menu, his Tiramisu is loudly touted as ‘the best in town’ by BOCCA regulars who always return for more. You may also try the Cremoso, a chocolate mousse with orange compote and biscotti; the Lemon Posset, a combination of lemon curd and chocolate crumble or as enticing, the Semifreddo, with white chocolate, dark rum and spiced cashews.

Alongside the bustling kitchen is the vibrant bar area where, inspired by the Milanese tradition of Aperitivo, locals and tourists can stop by for signature cocktails, craft beer, or a glass of wine from the curated selection of local boutique estates.

BOCCA is open for lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday from noon until 22h00 where you can take advantage of both the ‘ONE ON US’ and ‘AFTERNOON RECHARGE’ Winter menu specials. Please note that last orders are taken at 21h30.

BOCCA is situated at The Block, corner of Bree St & Wale Street, Cape Town City Centre. For more information visit www.bocca.co.za. For bookings call 021 422 0188 or email info@bocca.co.za . Connect on social media via @BoccaCT on Twitter; @boccaCT on Facebook; and bocca_ct on Instagram.

For press assistance contact Monique Roux of Manley Communications on premierbrands@manley-communications.com or call 0861 MANLEY (626 539), visit the Press Room of Manley Communications at www.manley-communications.com

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DISCOVER A TASTE OF URBAN ITALIAN CUISINE AT NEW-LOOK BOCCA

South Africa, Cape Town, November 2018; SINCE opening the doors in 2014, BOCCA has cemented itself as one of the hottest eateries on Bree Street, Cape Town’s gourmet boulevard. Now, with new owners – not to mention a revamped menu and refreshed décor – BOCCA is buzzing with a new Italian-inspired energy.

New owners Guido and Adnana Brambilla bring decades of experience in international hospitality to the Mother City. Before taking the keys to BOCCA the pair were based in Bermuda; Guido as Executive Chef for a major international hotel, while Adnana was in charge of sales and marketing for a collection of respected restaurants.

After eight years in Bermuda we were looking for a change, and of course our first thought was Cape Town because we really love the city,” explains Adnana of their decision to relocate to South Africa. “We had had enough of working in hotels, and were looking for something more personal.”

BOCCA – ‘mouth’, in Italian – proved to be the perfect opportunity, and after a month of renovation the new-look restaurant is ready to introduce Capetonians and tourists to a new style of urban Italian cuisine, tapping into a global trend of upscale eateries offering a refined yet relaxed dining experience.

We wanted to create a space where people can experience a taste of modern Italian cuisine,” says Adnana. “You can come by yourself and sit at the counter for a glass of wine and a few small plates, or arrive as a group and experience a selection of dishes. It’s really a place for people to connect over food.”

That concept comes to the fore in the ‘BITES’ section of Guido’s new menu, where authentic Italian flavours are refined into a mouth-watering selection of small plates ideal for sharing.

Think local Stracciatella with roasted cherry tomatoes and confit eggplant. The Panzanella salad of sourdough and seasonal tomatoes is another sure-fire hit, while the Polpo of Atlantic octopus with potatoes and basil pesto is a classic Mediterranean-inspired plate.

This section is all about uncomplicated Italian flavours, the kind you would enjoy if you were invited for dinner in an Italian household,” explains Guido.

The ‘CRISPY’ section is another perfect window into the new flavours of BOCCA. There is Ortofritto of zucchini, asparagus and artichokes. Want something meaty? Don’t miss the Polpettine meatballs of beef, pork and lamb, all to be dipped into a fresh ‘mayo verde’. Prefer seafood? Try the delicious Misto of calamari, white bait, prawns and mussels.

These dishes work so well when you’re dining in a group, with a selection of plates to share around the table,” adds Guido. “But for couples, or people dining by themselves, the portion sizes still allow you to order a few plates to discover different flavours.”

Of course no Italian menu would be complete without pasta, and under ‘GRAINS’ Guido has created a selection of plates that will challenge and inspire local palates.

Using imported Rummo pasta – “This is the best durum wheat pasta you can get in South Africa,” says Guido – diners can look forward to everything from slow-baked Ragù with fusilli, to the fragrant Basilia. This dish of rigatoni tossed in home-made basil pesto and green beans is an authentic taste of the traditional flavours of Liguria.

The Cassiopipa is also sure to have local foodies buzzing. This Venetian seafood ragù on penne is traditionally infused with oriental spices, a nod to the city’s long history as a trading port. It’s a dish that finds its perfect southern expression in Cape Town, another harbour city where the spicy fragrance of Cape Malay cooking has long wafted out of local kitchens.

BOCCA has always been famous for its pizza, and long-time fans will be happy to hear little has changed. The imported Acunto oven – which cooks pizzas in 90 seconds, at temperatures topping 450°F – remains in place, with the dough respecting the Verace Pizza Napoletana process of slow fermentation and extended proving before baking.

Of course, every pizza is thrown by hand, and rolled in a specific way to puff up very quickly in the oven,” adds Guido, who says the only change is one that will, happily, allow diners to enjoy even more pizza!

On the new menu the ‘PIZZETTE’ are rolled smaller (roughly 16cm across) than a traditional pizza, allowing for experimentation and sharing around the table.

Right now, if you order a pizza in a restaurant, that’s it. You have no more appetite to discover other flavours,” explains Adnana. “With a pizzette, you can order a few different flavours for the table.”

Even with the ability to order a selection, diners will be hard-pressed to choose from the array of innovative combinations.

Of course there’s a classic margherita, but also look for the superb Amatriciana of guanciale and pecorino. The Smoked is inspired by the flavours of southern Italy, with smoked scamorza cheese and zucchini marinated in vinegar, mint and garlic; while the signature Bocca comes topped with prosciutto, stracciatella and artichokes.

Once the wood-fired pizza oven is finished for the night, the residual heat is put to good use as larger cuts of beef, lamb, poultry and pork are seasoned and slow-roasted overnight. These find a home in the following day’s meaty ‘ARROSTI’ plates. Angus brisket braised in red wine is shredded and served on rustic sourdough, topped with a drizzle of cooking jus and salsa verde. Lamb leg enjoys a similar treatment, here with wild mushrooms, thyme and plenty of garlic.

A little dolce neatly rounds out the new menu, with ‘LAST STOP’ putting a modern spin on classic Italian desserts. There’s Tiramisu with Mascarpone Cream, and a small platter of local cheeses, but also look for the adventurous Pineapple Carpaccio with Muscadet marinade and pineapple fritters, or fresh Lemon Curd with chocolate crumble and seasonal strawberries. 

We expect the menu to change four times a year, as I really want to work with the seasons,” adds Guido, who has already tapped into leading local suppliers, including charcutier Richard Bosman and respected cheese producer Puglia. “I have tasted so many olive oils and meats and cheeses, and I don’t see any reason to use imported Italian products when there is such wonderful produce made right here in Cape Town.”

That dedicated, hands-on approach extends to the Italian hospitality diners can expect at BOCCA, with Guido and Adnana personally looking after the kitchen and front-of-house operations.

But it’s not just new owners and a new menu that diners can look forward to.

A striking décor revamp has added a more modern flair to BOCCA, from the motif of shimmering green tiles to a striking signature wall drawing the eye upstairs. Here new leather banquettes have softened the mezzanine space; adding a layer of contemporary comfort, while counter seating allows couples and solo diners to admire the bustling kitchen below. On the street side terrace, communal counter seating similarly faces the kitchen, contributing a sense of lively informality to the space.

Alongside the bustling kitchen is the vibrant bar area where, inspired by the Milanese tradition of Aperitivo, locals and tourists can stop by for signature cocktails, craft beer, or a glass of wine from the curated selection of local boutique estates.

From delectable small plates to unforgettable pizzette, there’s plenty to please the mouth at BOCCA this summer.

BOCCA is open for lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday from noon until 22h00. Please note that last orders are taken at 21h30.

BOCCA is situated at The Block, corner of Bree St & Wale Street, Cape Town City Centre. For more information visit www.bocca.co.za. For bookings call 021 422 0188 or email info@bocca.co.za . Connect on social media via @BoccaCT on Twitter; @boccaCT on Facebook; and bocca_ct on Instagram.

For press assistance contact Ian or Lise Manley of Manley Communications on premierbrands@manley-communications.com or call 0861 MANLEY (626 539), visit the Press Room of Manley Communications at www.manley-communications.com

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