This time last week I was sitting enjoying a macchiato with perfect creamy foam at Nonna’s Kitchen in Morningside, . I had an errand to run at the post office and this was my indulgence for the day – a ‘three course’ Italian lunch.
I have to be in the right sort of mood for pudding, so my three courses included an order of fresh oysters. It was my dad who taught me to enjoy these as a child; and oysters, mussels and giant sweet prawns were on the menu almost as soon as I was on solid food.
I’m the first lunch customer of the day. In fact, I was so early they were still writing the specials on the board!
The waiter here is amazing – the family who own Nonna’s also ran the Patio on Hanover street (though I’m not sure if it’s still there) and the older of the two waiters has a incredible memory. There are usually about twenty specials, starters and mains, and his ability to remember and recite them is pretty damned impressive. This is old-school waiting, none of this ‘I’ll have to check with the kitchen’ nonsense when you ask what the soup of the day is!
As always I decided to go for one of the specials…it seems such a shame not to when they sound so lovely.
I started with half a dozen delicately salty oysters, with just a squeeze of fresh lemon and some black pepper.
This was followed by an intriguing starter of baked avocado with mixed seafood bound in a creamy sauce. I’d never tried baking avocado before, but it was pretty good (may have to try doing this at home), skin and all. Melt-in-your-mouth sweet creamy avocado flesh with savoury, garlicky prawns, clams and scallops with a touch of cream and mozzarella.
Then came the giant prawn linguine in all it’s glory, with sweet tiger prawns that were truly massive and a fresh chopped tomato sauce garnished with whole roasted cherry toms. None of that oversweetness of a a ready made sauce full of tinned tomatoes, this beautiful stuff was made of fresh tomatoes chopped minutes before the plate came to my table…