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High on sugar at the One&Only

Chef Caro and Restaurant Editor Cath Shone go to heaven on a cloud of sweet delights.

by: Caro de Waal: Food24 | 01 Jul 2009

Dimo Simatos heads a team of seventeen in the immaculate pastry kitchen of the One&Only.

This soft spoken young pastry chef is producing world standard treats, to knock your sweet tooth clear into the canals surrounding Sol’s new venture.

With Olympic and international accolades as long as your arm, this engaged (sorry girls) chocolatier, runs the classical Patisserie with a professional, and experienced ‘swoosh’ of his magic spatula.

In a word, superb.

Afternoon tea
Afternoon tea is an ecstatic indulgence of the senses, with much raptured eyeball-rolling and gleeful, ‘have you tasted this?’ spoon-sharing.

From fresh savoury little croissants and salmon sandwiches, to the perfect lemon tart, banoffi pie in a shot glass, velvet dark chocolate mousse and baby tiramisu.

And more… silky vanilla pod pannacotta, Amarula layered mousses and superb scones with real clotted cream. We were floating around on a pink candy floss cloud of deliciousness.

We had a chat to the maestro:

Q: You say the testing started in February at the One&Only, what was your biggest challenge?
A: Having to train staff in a very short period of time before the resort’s grand opening in early April.

Q: What is your favourite treat on the menu at the moment?
A: The vanilla and rum cannele.

Q: What is your favourite piece of equipment in the kitchen?
A: My chocolatier’s scraper.

Q: What is, in your opinion the most underrated ingredient? Why?
A: Sugar, because most chefs forget that it is one of the main building blocks of pastry. Without sugar, very few of the classical items would be made well. If it is used in moderation in recipes or formulas, it can give them a whole range of subtle flavours, and contributes to the pastry products' taste, colour, freshness and texture.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: Seeing my staff mastering their work.

Q: What food do you like to eat when out of the kitchen?
A: Pizza.

Q: What is your long term plan for The Patisserie?
A:To make it the best patisserie in town. I’d like the One&Only Cape Town to be known for its excellent pastry. Not for gimmicks and tricks, but honest classical pastry.

Q: What five ingredients would you take to a deserted island?
A: I would not take anything – I’m sure the "SURVIVOR" crew and cast would be there to take care of me!

Q: What is the most exotic thing you have ever cooked with or tasted?
A: I have not made it yet , but I tasted an individual chocolate with a popping ganache centre (like the powder stuff you used to get as kids, it crackles and pops in your mouth). It was quite a surprise in sound, taste and feel.

Q: What would be the perfect foodie destination holiday for you and why?
A: Most of Europe, Spain, France, Greece right through to turkey, because most of what I know has either been taught to me there, or has its origins in Europe.

Afternoon tea: Three-tiered tray with tea or coffee. R180 per tray. Serves two to three people.
Afternoon cake selection: Any two cakes for R50.

- None


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