Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mezza Luna - under a crescent moon

October 8th 2007 - arriving in Johannesburg, and another encounter with the teddy bears and soft beds of Melville House. Being back in Melville in Johannesburg felt reassuring, but it also meant that our departure back to Europe was only three days away. Close to the end of our trip, we had maybe the second best meal of our voyage. Magic at Mezza Luna - under the crescent moon.

Location: BBBBB

The Mezza Luna is located in 7th street, the main street of Melville. Very easy to find, when you are there, a little more complicated if you live else where, but definitely worth it.

Mezza Luna is located in a small a small passage, and in a few small rooms, with even tables inside and even outside under lush, climbing vegetation

Mezza Luna is the place to take someone you love for a great meal. Romantic indeed!!

Interior and atmosphere: BBBB

Tables with white table cloths, but not much more. No glasses, forks, knives, napkins or wine glasses.

The theme of the interior is Franco-Italian, white walls, oak coloured chairs, tables - rustic and very tasteful. As we sat down outside, under the climbing lushness, I got this Mediterranean feeling.

Reasonably well seated, but the ground surface was uneven, meaning that the tables outside were moving, not stable, a problem when you have tall wine glasses standing.

Price: BBBBB

I did not keep the bill, but it was not significantly more expensive than the 75- 100 ZAR we paid for a good meal in South Africa. For a two course meal and wine it is definitely a full score.

Service: BBBBB

Very good service. We were guided and adviced concerning wine and food, and we did not wait long for the food. Top score.

Food: BBBBB-

I ordered an entree and a main course. The profile of Mezza Luna was a fusion between Italian cooking and a distinct eastern influence, and it was. The food was spectacular, with multiple tastes, one for each taste bud. A fine balance between sweet, salty, and spicy - with nuts, honey and crispy pastry as well as savoury ingredients.

My first taste of Mezza Luna was parcels of filo pastry filled with figs and blue cheese, a great combination and a sweet honey and nut mixture. Reminiscent of Moroccan or Turkish kitchen, the sweetness of the figs slightly overpowered the strong aromas of the blue cheese. But the crisp filo pastry and sweet nuts and honey made this closer to a a dessert, a baklava, than a main course.

Then I ordered chicken with dried figs, rice and sauteed vegetables. Once again a fine balance between salt, sweetness, and spices.

This dish worked great, as the sauce was sweet, the vegetables salty, the chicken deliciously tender. You could just close your eyes and sense the spices of North Africa, and the areas along the silk road to China. A box of precious spices brought to a Europe hungry for new tastes to explore.

When I omit telling you about the wonderful wine, it is because I forgot to write down its name, but it tasted heaven under the South African African sky.

Overall score: BBBBB- (4,75 points)

Highly recommendable. Eating at the Mezza Luna is a magic, mysterious union between the bazaars of Marrakech and Istanbul.

Mezza Luna
9a, 7th street
Melville, Johannesburg
South Africa
Phone: 011-4822477

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