Get a bit of Italian inside you at Lupa Osteria in the V&A Waterfront

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CONSISTENCY in all things is vital. Unless you’re Oscar Wilde, who said, rather typically and scathingly, “Consistency is the hallmark of the unimaginative.”

In the food industry, it’s particularly important. Even if it’s consistently bad, like KFC. At least you know what you’re in for. Rather look for somewhere good to eat, like Lupa, the newly-opened osteria in the V&A Waterfront.

All too often, time and budget constraints mean I usually get to visit a restaurant just once before writing a story; in this case I’ve been to Lupa twice so far, and intend to go again. On both occasions, the food and the service impressed.

One fine Friday night, Sexy Deborah and I popped in for a spontaneous late-ish dinner. I swore I wasn’t going to eat a second time that evening having already had an entire ribeye steak at my hotel earlier, but then we discovered the weekly porchetta special (see pic at the top of the story – and will you just look at that crackling!)… this dish is prepared slowly and cooked slowly and limited portions are available. Lupa owner Marco Zagato tells me they will make it by special request but you need to give them a decent amount of notice, like several days.

“I’ll just have a little taste,” I said of the not insignificant portion. Well. So much for that; I ate almost all of my share, and was not even a tiny bit sorry.

Last week I went there again, this time for lunch, and again I had the grilled artichokes with lemon aioli as a starter. You know that slight puckering you get inside your mouth when you think of something delicious? Yes, that just happened to me now. Based on our waiter Victor Ngxaxa’s excellent suggestion, my friend Enid had the whole baked Camembert which is wrapped in Parma ham (I kid you not) and served all oozy and warm with bruschetta and sticky caramelised onions.

For main course I ordered the Italian classic, veal saltimbocca with Parma ham, white wine and sage butter. It’s usually accompanied by Parmesan-dusted fries but I asked for them to be swapped for zucchini fries. My logic went along the lines of there would be marginally fewer carbs in the batter on those, than on the potatoes. Whatever. Those fries were flipping amazing. I also had some spinach with Parmesan and butter on the side. Such a yummy vegetable.

There is a room inside Lupa which is dedicated solely to the making of fresh pasta, so Enid was utterly thrilled with her fettuccine Alfredo…ham, Parmesan, mushrooms and cream. Being an Italian place, naturally the menu leans heavily in the direction of pastas and pizzas (for which there are not one but two wood-fired ovens so that should tell you something). Secondi choices include the traditional – such as the various veal dishes – to the requisite crowd-pleasers like burgers and kingklip. Reasonably priced wines are served by the carafe or bottle, and there is a decent cocktail menu.

Sexy Deborah, I do believe we shall go there for dinner next week?

Lupa Osteria is in the Clock Tower precinct of the V&A Waterfront. For more information, telephone 021 425 0010 or click here.

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