Pilgrimage to 'Jerusalem' offers heavenly delights
Andre Burgener has been immersed in all things food since she took over the making of the family's lunch box sandwiches aged eight (her mom could make a mean creme brulee and a staggering souffle, but could never butter the bread all the way to the edges.
COOKING THE BOOKS
JERUSALEM is the new cookbook from the great and glorious Ottolenghi boys.
These, as keen cook-bookers know, are the brilliant chefs who have done for Middle Eastern food what The River Café did for pared-down Italian. Their first book, Ottolenghi, brought the glories of their London restaurant to the world, and their second, Plenty, saw them take on the challenge of an entirely vegetarian tome (and succeed magnificently, of course).
Incredibly, they still have a bevy of Middle Eastern-ish recipes left up their sleeves. There are so many magnificent dishes in this beautiful book that they will leave you breathless (or is it just me that gets all hyperventilatey around new and excellent cookbooks?)
Both Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi grew up in Jerusalem, so the book is something of a pilgrimage for them. Here's what they cook: burnt aubergine and mograbieh soup, lemony leek meatballs, chicken with clementines and arak, sea bream with harissa and rose, pears with wine and cardamom. You start to understand the hyperventilating, do you not? And just wait until you make some of the dishes. I can't possibly emphasise how badly you need this book in your life. Ebury Press. R415.
BIG IN THE CITY
WHEN Narina Trogon opened its doors in 2007 in Braamfontein, bold owner Carlyn Zehner was way ahead of the curve. Not much was going on there, but she always believed in the idea of city. And slowly, very slowly, Narina and all who sail with her have watched as the surrounding neighbourhood has shifted and flourished. This is due in no small part to the presence of Narina itself; its huge, green mosaic wall and chic glass front changed the feel of the street from the instant it opened. My recent lunch there convinced me that this is now one of the best dining options in the city (and suburbs too). Chef Paul Barrett, along with Carlyn, updates the menu continually, and the food has developed a very definite voice: informal, stylish global dishes, using as much local and naturally farmed produce as possible, and happily free of frippery.
This kitchen turns out chips that no human alive could resist. Not too thick, not too thin, with a crunchy and salty crust, and a powdery soft inside. Truly perfect.
The burger is made with grass-fed beef, the amazing bun is home-made (as are all their breads). The aubergine bake I devoured was far more exciting (and far lighter), than such a dish suggests. And the carrot, ginger and apple juice alone is worth a trip there. I should mention too that they have the most beautiful loos and washrooms of any restaurant in the country. 81 De Korte Street. 011-339-6645.