Il Tartufo is an authentic Italian restaurant situated in Hutton Court centre in Hyde Park. Most restaurants describe themselves as authentically Italian. It doesn’t get more authentic than this restaurant that has an Italian chef that speaks very little English cooking in the kitchen! I also vaguely remember reading that a restaurant is not authentically Italian if there is pizza on the menu which you wouldn’t find here.
The seating outside does not have the greatest of layouts. Upon entering the restaurant the first thing you notice is the deli section at the entrance which has the feel of a butchery. This doesn’t gel well with the décor and ambiance. They have a very cool wine storage vault packed with a wide selection of wines. The décor and setup isn’t wow with slightly disjointed sections; old dreary colours and décor. Most of the customers were very old and probably regulars.
I did however love the old school pasta machine that formed part of the décor. We were served a different selection of breads which were yummy. I love me some good bread! The 7 course tasting menu was served in portions that were quite reasonably sized compared to other restaurants where I have had a tasting menu. This was a Groupon special unfortunately so you won’t be able to experience this unless Groupon runs another offer. Courses 1 and 2 are starters, courses 3 – 6 are mains and 7 dessert.
Course 1: Crème brulee of asparagus (R50). I loved the unique take of a savoury crème brulee. This dish was creamy and yummy.
Course 2: Baked brinjals with mozzarella, parmesan cheese and napolitana sauce (R70). I have always wanted to try melanzane but I am not a fan of brinjals as they are generally quite bitter. So I was very surprised that I really enjoyed this. It was delicious and I would definitely eat it again.
Course 3: Basil ravioli with mozzarella served with fresh tomato sauce and black olives (R70). I don’t like homemade pasta as it is always thick in consistency. I liked the sauce but the mozzarella filling was too chewy and lacked basil.
Course 4: Thin egg noodles in a truffle flavoured butter sauce (R112). This was a weird dish that you will either love or hate. I sort of liked it but I am not sure if I would order it as a main meal because it feels quite simple. It would make for an excellent starter.
Course 5: I can’t find this dish on the menu but it was rolled up chicken, potato croquettes and veggies. I really didn’t like it as the chicken and sauce tasted foul.
Course 6: Fillet in a red wine sauce was an average dish. Best you rather eat this at a steakhouse.
Course 7: Amaretti biscuits, marsala wine, cream, pecan nuts and pieces of dark chocolate (R40). This dessert was okay, not bad but not mind-blowing as dessert should be and not something I would order of my own accord.
From the seven dishes I tried, course 1, 2 and 4 are the ones I would eat again. I would definitely recommend you try this out if you want to eat authentic Italian food. I would advise choosing pasta as a main and not any of the meat/seafood dishes.
Ring: (011) 788 8948
Hop: Hutton Court Centre, Corner Summit & Jan Smuts Avenue, Hyde Park
Italians & Pasta,