Often, the best hidden gems need excavating. And when that excavation involves wandering through lush overgrowths of bright green, only to be led into an airy, indoor secret garden and served dishes that redefine “mouthwatering”, it’s not exactly an excruciating process. Nestled in a world of its own behind La Cucina di Ciro in Parktown North, Gabriella’s Tea Room offers a delicious selection for the carnivorous, vegan, vegetarian and the category with which I most identify: the bottomless pit omnivore. It’s madness not to start your Hungarian-Italian inspired feast with a meze platter, unless you can somehow resist a medley of roasted vegetables, handcrafted samoosas, and olives that must have been marinated in the rosemary-cumin-lemon vinaigrette of royalty. Tender roast beef smothered in red wine sauce on a fluffy home-made ciabatta followed as the main course, swapped bite for bite with my dining companion’s hearty bean “frikkadel”. For dessert, you can’t go wrong with ordering three cakes for two people; attempting to decide between gluten-free almond orange cake, Japanese cheesecake, and vegan chocolate torte was just too difficult on a warm Sunday afternoon.
43 7th Avenue, Parktown North; 011-442-5187.
By Virginia Boshoff