Walking down the narrow side of Kloof Street, where the sidewalk can handle only single file traffic, one is suddenly faced with these high tables that make dodging determined pedestrians even more difficult than usual. The solution? Go inside. This is Mozzarella Bar, a truly Italian, and easily missed, collectable. As the name suggests, they serve everything Mozzarella. And only the good stuff, supplied by Puglia Cheese in Cape Town. Special equipment all the way from Italy allows the supplier to produce authentic Mozzarella made from cow’s milk. Some might think that Italian cheese is generally made from Buffalo milk, but in the town of Puglia, cow’s milk is the way to go. Hence the supplier’s name.
The quality and authenticity you’ll find here definitely makes this lunch stop a bit more pricey than some of the other collectables around the blog, but for those fond of Italian food, or those eager to try out a few delicacies, this is a definite must. Plus it has a lovely vibe. The manager is an Italian himself, the kitchen staff make everything fresh while you watch and since it’s so close to the street, the small space has a great city feel to it. Seating is either at the bar itself or at the high counters facing out over the street, and of course, the stand around tables outside offer a more exposed option.If you don’t know much Italian and you’re unfamiliar with the food, then the menu might seem a little overwhelming at first, but help is only a frown away. Feel free to ask them to explain the dishes, or just read the descriptions and take a chance. Naturally, most of the menu items are Mozzarella based, some are accompanied by Parma Ham, Salmon, Cooked Ham or the odd Anchovy, others are vegetarian and most sport a good dose of Rocket and Olive oil on the side.
The Panzerotto Gaia and Panzerotto Giorgio are warm mozzarella and tomato filled pastries, offering a hearty warm meal. The variations of Rotolo dishes are more dainty, with different fillings wrapped in smooth, creamy mozzarella sheets and are refreshing for a light summer lunch. There’s also a deep fried mozzarella sandwich or the trusty cheese and ham sandwich with the choice of a focaccia, ciabatta or croissant. These aren’t all though, but it gives the idea of the type of spread to expect. It’s hard to leave without being satisfied.Mozzarella bar is not only an eatery though. You can pop in here and buy a few quality mozzarella products too. The Puglia cheese is available as well as imported buffalo mozzarella and Pecorini. You’ll also find olive oils and olives from Morgenster. And for those on the run, there are juices and sweats too.
And of course, there’s coffee. Lavazza coffee to be exact, just to keep the Italian theme going. This might also be the cheapest cappuccino available around these parts (only R10) and the name promises quality. But a definite recommendation, especially since the weather is getting a little warmer, is the iced coffee sorbetto. Served in a tiny glass with a tiny spoon, this is espresso sorbet mixed with milk and cream. It is sweet, creamy, cold and tasty and if you do happen to be a fan of cold coffee drinks or sorbet, it is worth the try.Something that is not prominent from the street, is the art gallery on top of Mozzarella Bar. As with these restored Cape Town buildings, a good old wooden staircase will lead you to an attic, slanted roof and all, where different exhibitions come and go. This area is also available for private functions and will make for a rather exclusive party.It is necessary to mention that Mozzarella bar is only one of a chain of Italian restaurants around the city. Giorgio Nava is the megamind behind them all and is adamant to educate Cape Tonians about the different dimensions of Italian cuisine. Just up Kloof Street, at number 153, there’s Cafe Milano, focusing mostly on baked goods. The cuisine education continues in Keerom Street, with 95 Keerom and Carne, at number 70, giving two more Italian variations. He also started Down South, at number 267 Long Street, which is completely relaxed, very affordable and entirely non-Italian. They serve mostly American styled food and offer a complete contrast to Nava’s other ventures.
One last thing about Mozzarella: there is free wifi. So if you need more to entertain you than the vibe, the coffee, the art and the cheesy goodness, then there you have it. Mozzarella Bar is at number 51 Kloof Street, right next to ToiToy. Just look out for those white tables on the sidewalk.