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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Review Giovanni Pasta Fagioli - Woodmead - Johannesburg

In Dunwoody Shopping Center at Western Service Road in Woodmead you'll find Giovanni Pasta Fagioli.
We decided to have diner there on Friday the 19th of March together with some friends.

First impression at the entrance:
  • Unwelcoming security fence front door
  • Friendly waiters
  • Nice bar area
  • Visible pizza oven area
  • Too dark inside
  • Ugly ceiling with wooden frames and blue lights
They had tongue on the menu, ox tongue which could be ordered as a starter. We did! I never had tasted it before and I was scared. I have always hesitated to order it because if you see it lying in the freezer at a butcher's shop, it looks weird and somewhat disgusting I think. I figured that only seeing the 'end-product' it might be good for me to cross the border. The-not-eating-ox-tongue-border. And I did.. It was very good according to my table partners who could compare it with tongue they had earlier in their life. I was surprised that it was so juicy and tender. I took a few bites that I really enjoyed. Then I pushed the plate to my neighboring table partners that finished it. Hm, made me think if I could eat everything from now on, as I just touched a juicy and tender tongue?

During the evening the lady (did not catch her name) was helpful and friendly. A loss for the restaurant if she would decide to leave. The waiters we had at our table (three in total) were constantly smiling, which I loved, but were interrupting irritably. In the middle of a conversation they would ask us if we knew what we would want to order (menu's still open on the table), our choice for desserts, and if we were interested in another round of drinks. They even offered me the dessert menu twice! I already had coffee in front of me, really guys work together!

If your tables are divided in certain groups with one responsible waiter and it is not busy at one group, don't let the waiter with no customers come to the other groups to help out (only if it is well communicated). It does not work out for your guests. Especially when they do not communicate towards each other about the guests' order or needs. If your staff can manage it, do it. Otherwise tell them to go and help in the kitchen or whatever work is required at the time. Enough recommendations for service. That's not my fucking job but the managers'.

The food we ordered for main course was served in big frying pans. Lovely idea! I had ordered the Chef's Special. A simple pasta with fresh ingredients, exactly how Italians serve their guests in Italy: home made pasta with seafood, olive oil and Parmesan cheese made the dish indeed very special. With an Italian wink, as good as a nod.

The dessert menu offered frozen desserts, and home made Tiramis├╣, which Peter ordered. Good taste, but way too much liquid in the crust. The liqueur overwhelmed the other ingredients as well and made the crust too soft. I ordered cappuccino (and 'stole' some Tiramis├╣ from Peter's plate). The cappuccino would taste better if it was served with less water and more coffee! The frothing of the milk was done properly.

Overall experience?

Value for money?
No, it was too expensive for the total package, looking at the ambiance of the restaurant, the service and the quality of the food. Most of the dishes were between R 100,- and R 150,-. That's on average R 20,- to R 50,- more than what we paid at Tortellino D'oro in Glenhove (see earlier review).

Food            3/5
Service        2/5
Ambiance    2/5

Overall review

Warm Regards,

Abigail Summer

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