Restaurant Review

Zio La Famiglia is just as amazing as its popular 'nephew', Gemelli

Alessandro Mosupi Khojane of Gemelli fame proves that great Italian food is a family affair with his second restaurant, Zio La Famiglia, in Hyde Park, Joburg

22 May 2019 - 10:44 By Deepa Kesa
Chef Caitlin Drake with Zio creator Alessandro Mosupi Khojane.
Chef Caitlin Drake with Zio creator Alessandro Mosupi Khojane.
Image: Instagram/Zio

Nestled in Hyde Park, Zio La Famiglia is discreet, unassuming and undoubtedly one of the best kept secrets on the Jozi food scene. Well, for the moment at least. Simple wooden chairs and tables welcome foodies upon their entry. No frills. No fuss. That, bless the chef's skills, has been left to the food.

Alessandro Mosupi Khojane, owner and creator of Gemelli, the spot where the who's who like to fill their hungry bellies, wanted a more secluded option to his debut restaurant in Bryanston. Also, folks were getting mighty unhappy with the long waiting list, which can genuinely (and we can vouch for this) take up to three weeks for a Saturday night reservation.

Enter Zio La Famiglia. Khojane, who spent much of his childhood in Italy, describes Zio's menu as being more "retro" than Gemelli's. Kinda like a creative uncle, which makes sense, considering Zio means uncle in Italian. 

Sunday Times was invited to try out Zio's winter menu (tough job, eh?) and we'll admit that if our jobs and budgets allowed, we'd be gorging ourselves at our fave uncle every damn day.

Here's what you need to know...

VIBE 

The vibe was homely yet sophisticated, subtle yet bold. Zio's has a lot of wood, with real plants as decorations, but is finished off by gold designs to give it a more classy look and feel. It's not date night, but a friends and family affair. Although if bae took us there we'd certainly give a nod of approval.

THE FOOD

Khojane said the newly released winter menu attempts to show that any food can be eaten in winter, its all about the preparation. Adding goats cheese to a salad makes eating your greens in winter a more hearty affair.

Hearty pastas have become a signature Zio dish, but don't skimp on being adventurous. The salmon ceviche with an avo sorbet is so unique and more-ish, making it our outright winner.

What about puds then? The Nutella cheesecake is sublime, but it's the lemon tart with a citrus meringue that had us making all kinda of sounds at the table.

THE DRINK

It has a fully stocked bar. Italians, what else did you expect? Our pick: the Martini Rosso and tonic. It goes with, well, everything.

WHERE

You'll find Zio at Shop 14, upper ground, Hyde Square, corner Jan Smuts Avenue and North Road. To be safe, book this uncle in advance. Oh, and make sure you have an empty stomach ready for all that glorious food.

Visit ziorestaurant.co.za