Pomodoro is an Italian restaurant situated in the Morningside shopping centre. I have eaten here three times, once for a group lunch so I think I have a fair and comprehensive view of the restaurant.
The décor is clean and modern with beautiful light fittings. I seemed to be obsessed with light fittings lately for some reason. There is an inside and outside section and a little bar area. I prefer sitting outside as the setup is more open and the vibe more bustling. You can find anything and everything on the menu here with the expected pizzas and pastas to a wide range of meat and fish dishes.
Be it lunch or dinner time there are always plenty of families with kids. It is a spot for casual or family dinners but I wouldn’t recommend it as a date night place. Something unique I have seen here is that pastas can be ordered as a starter or main portion. While it is a great option to have, paying R80 for a starter pasta is too pricey in my opinion. I would rather pay the little extra for a main sized portion.
A nice touch is the complimentary focaccia served instead of bread and occasionally with a sundried tomato dip. For big groups seeing that you would probably order and pay for focaccia yourself we didn’t receive any. Two out of three focaccia breads (R29) we ordered were raw.
Fior di latte mozarella, basil and sliced tomato drizzled with tomato (R55) was an exceptionally bland starter. I am not sure who enjoys eating mozzarella this way as it has no taste, I would recommend giving this dish a skip!
The salad consisted of green leaves, baby tomatoes, robiola cheese, carrot shavings, avocado and a balasamico vinaigrette (R75). This salad had the freshest leaves I have ever seen used in a salad. A downfall was that the leaves overwhelmed the other elements on the salad and the cheese lacked flavour. I don’t like raw mushrooms but that’s more a personal preference.
The main dishes were all beautifully presented. I had the black pepper and mascarpone stuffed chicken breast in a mushroom and truffle sauce (R110). I couldn’t taste the truffle flavour in the sauce. It could have said mushroom sauce and I would not have known the difference. Whilst cutting into the chicken the mascarpone cheese was liquid and oozed into the sauce. The stuffed element of the chicken was lost as a result of this. The French fries were dreadful and the worst I have eaten. They were extremely hard possibly due to them being frozen and fried in a semi frozen state. One of the other dishes on the menu is a pan fried chicken breast with olive oil, rosemary and lemon for R93. I think it is rather expensive for only one chicken breast, most places give you at least two or sometimes even three for that price.
The home made ravioli filled with a prawn and basil mousse in a beurre-blanc sauce lacked any flavour (R125). The basil did not come through in the mousse and the sauce lacked seasoning.
The chicken burger with avo, feta, caramelized onions, and peppadews for R85 was way too salty and the peppadews way too few. On this visit even the chips were extra salty and inedible.
The crumbed calamari for R95 is delicious, the calamari is perfectly lightly crumbed and not chewy. Something I would definitely eat again.
Homemade traditional Pugliese lasagne with Napoletana sauce, veal meat balls, boiled egg and mozzarella had for R105 had a twist to it, as it is made with meatballs. It was An average dish with the meatballs being a little too chunky.
The flavour in the homemade egg tagliatelle with a creamy porcini mushroom, saffron and whisky sauce for R105 was overpowered by the alcohol and the pasta was heavy. I have a confession – I prefer store bought pasta to homemade because it tastes better!
Homemade ravioli filled with ricotta cheese and spinach with Napoletana sauce for R85.
Risotto of the day R115.
Penne with fresh baby tomatoes, olives, Fior di latte mozzarella, olive oil and basil for R74. Don’t order this – I felt sorry for my friend that did. It is basically a bland salad with pasta.
Grilled kingklip with sun-dried tomato pesto served with sautéed julienne vegetables for R165.
Veal minute steak with a creamy mushroom and truffle sauce for R142.
Beef fillet with rocket, parmesan shavings, baby tomatoes, olive oil and balsamic vinegar for R152.
Grilled 300 gram rump steak with garlic and herb butter for R148.
The chocolate fondant for dessert was done well and oozed in the centre, it’s super expensive at R80 though. I did not like that you are not asked if you want ice cream or cream and are served cream automatically.
The service is dependent on the waiter you get (sorry that does sound rather obvious). On the group visit we were not told when ordering what dishes were unavailable, only after a 10 minute wait did the waiter come back to get people to change their orders. The waiters brought wrong drinks and were slow to bring drinks to the table. We ordered a chocolate milkshake, waited 30min, enquired with another waiter only to be told they don’t make milkshakes! The service left me irritated and tainted the experience. It is not up to scratch at all. Our service on our second visit was pleasant but on the third we had the same waiter as the group visit and it wasn’t good.
Nothing screams out to my taste buds on the menu, the food is pricey and average tasting and the service is dismal. While the food isn’t bad I would say Pomodoro is the perfect example of jack of all trades but master of none when it comes to their food. I think there are far better Italian restaurants to visit in Johannesburg and this isn’t one of them. The owner responds to reviews on Zomato by saying that if you think the food is bland because it is not commercialized then feel free to add salt that is provided on the table. My view is that salt shouldn’t be needed to save a dish. There is a difference between bland and not enough salt. I also wonder what I should have done with my extremely salty chips? Rinse them in water perhaps. This a restaurant you visit because of convenience and location, nothing more, nothing less.
Ring: 087 940 3811
Hop: Morningside Shopping Centre, Cnr Rivonia & Outspan Roads, Morningside
Pomodoro & Pasta,