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Flavours of Italy…

If the quaint, red and white checked tablecloths and handwritten chalkboard menus don’t give it away, the name of this beautiful new restaurant and deli certainly will…

When you say it out loud, you can’t help but do so with a hint of an accent. It’s a beautiful Italian word that flows off your tongue … Abbiocco. The word, which is also the name of Burnedale Farm’s delightful new, alfresco pasta bar and deli, means ‘the sleepy feeling you get after a big meal’. Owner Coenie Kruger describes it as ‘a carb coma’. This may be our new favourite word.
With more than 20 years of restaurant experience behind them, Coenie and his partner Johan Hurter opened Abbiocco just over a month ago after moving to the Ballito from Cape Town.

Coenie, who takes on the role of head chef, is passionate about serving authentic Italian food. He started his culinary career working for and learning from an Italian chef at a small restaurant in Wynberg in Cape Town. Coenie and Johan eventually bought the restaurant and ran it for the next eight years, with Johan overseeing the front of house (and whipping up the odd delicious desert!).

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From there they took on a slightly bigger challenge, opening a guest house and restaurant in Riebeeck Kasteel, north of Cape Town. This became their passion project, which they lovingly owned and ran for the next 13 years. When they took a trip to Thailand on holiday at the beginning of last year though, they had no idea what would unfold. Lockdown was imposed while they were away and they ended up being stuck in Thailand for the next nine weeks. They had to close the restaurant and guest house.

“We’ve been coming to Ballito on holiday for a few years now, and every time we came, we fell more in love with it. When we came down in November last year we decided to stay. The area has grown, the climate here is wonderful and we’ve always wanted to live near the ocean.”
While looking for a premises to open a restaurant, someone suggested they have a look at Burnedale. There were two shop spaces available next to each other and it was perfect for what they were looking for.

Abbiocco is all about classic, Italian flavours and ingredients. The alfresco seating area, surrounded by trees and greenery, provides the perfect backdrop to enjoy a delicious bowl of homemade pasta and a good glass of wine. The menu, which is written up on the chalkboards daily, usually comprises an Antipasti Platter (which allows you to taste a variety of authentic Italian items) and a selection of pasta dishes (think tagliatelle with pulled short rib, gnocchi with spinach and ricotta and traditional beef lasange – all made from scratch each day). Their signature Osso Buco and Melanzane dishes are both must-tries! They even make their own ice cream, with fabulous flavours like Blueberry and Peanut Butter (and you can buy tubs to take home!).

The restaurant’s quaint indoor area is filled with a wonderful array of both locally-sourced and homemade traditional Italian deli goods and decorated with beautiful pieces they’ve collected over the years. The cold deli range, which Coenie says has been very popular has a selection of cold cuts (sourced from a local charcuterie), cheeses and homemade pestos and mayos. They also have fabulous to-go pastas and salads, artichokes in olive oil and an assortment of hand selected condiments, pastas, truffle oils, cordials and coffee.

Another exciting (and already very popular) offering is their ‘Long Table Feasts’. This is a dining concept where a group of people can come together to celebrate a special occasion (or just enjoy a foodie evening out) and enjoy a four-course classic Italian meal. Tables are limited to 12 in winter, but will able to be bigger in summer when you sit outside, and the evening includes canapes on arrival and Groote Post wine on the table. The best part is that the entire menu is a secret – so you don’t know what you are getting until each course is served! The Long Table Feast is R495 per person.

Artichoke Pasta in a Creamy Napoletana and Basil Pesto Sauce

Serves 2
You’ll need: 200g fresh tagliatelle or spaghetti (available fresh from the Abbiocco deli or your own dried pasta); 400ml cooked napoletana sauce, 200ml fresh cream, 2 tablespoons basil pesto, salt and pepper to taste, 6 whole artichokes (3 sliced), 50g – 80g freshly grated parmesan, Italian parsley for garnish.
To make: Cook your tomato sauce and add the pesto and cream. Cook your fresh pasta in salty water for two minutes. Add the sliced-up artichokes to the sauce and mix through. Your pasta can now be added (after you strained it) and mixed through your sauce delicately. Plate your pasta and top with a whole artichoke, grated parmesan and chopped Italian parsley.

Details: Abbiocco, Burnedale Farm, Salt Rock, 071 362 1011, [email protected], @abbiocco_saltrock.

Text: Leah Shone | Photographs: Robyn Rose Photography

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