Well-known and much loved Pretoria chef, Fortunato Mazzone (or Forti, as you most know him), has recently opened an exciting new restaurant, Forti Grill & Bar at Time Square in Menlyn, Pretoria.
The restaurant is a flawlessly blended fusion of food, wine, art, design and music. Each of these elements is things that Forti takes very seriously and his passion for each is abundantly obvious. The restaurant is elegant and you can be sure of a special, fine-dining experience without any hint of stuffiness.
Forti explains that many of the meals on his menu are made using only four or five ingredients. Fine-dining does not necessarily have to mean complicated and the meals at Forti’s prove this every time. For starters, there are classics like Caesar salad or the delicious lamb kidneys prepared with marsala wine, double cream, mustard and black pepper or if you fancy a really authentic Italian feast, a charcuterie and cheese board of Italian cold meats – local and imported with local and imported artisan cheeses. Which ever option you go for, you really should make sure that you pair it with the fresh artisanal bread (baked by the family business, BICCS).
Next stop would be the pasta – you can watch your pasta being made at the pasta station in the open kitchen. Simple, yet authentic Italian pasta sauces make it very difficult to choose between them – the delicious fettuccine frutti di mare with baby clams, prawns, mussels, calamari in tomato and white wine sauce had very generous amounts of fresh seafood. The gnocchi con ragu made with four types of meat slow braised in a tomato, red wine sauce was something very special.
If you are wanting something a little different to the pasta options, Forti prides himself on the top grade selection of meat available. Whether it be beautifully marbled, Australian wagyu steaks or perfectly aged sirloin rump, T-bone, fillet or rib eye – you won’t be disappointed an each will be prepared to your liking and incredibly tasty. The crispy pork belly with pickled ginger, sweet potato, curried cabbage and caramelised baby onion is a recipe that has been recently introduced to the menu and quickly become very popular amongst diners. If are are a prawn fan, you would be very silly to not choose the prawns – prepared using a family recipe inspired by Forti’s Dad, Giovanni – oven roasted with garlic, champagne, butter, “secret ketchup” and served on creamy parmesan rice.
With all of these delicious starter and main course options to choose from, it is quite easy to do the sensible thing and opt out of dessert. Don’t be sensible! Missing dessert at Forti’s would be a terrible error. Desserts are prepared by the in-house pastry team and each one is a work of art and the perfect end to a wonderful dining experience.
The wine list is extensive and has a wide offering to match most budgets and sourced from eight different countries. Forti has created a glass-walled wine cellar that creates a private dining space for 20 guests and allows you to dine whilst surrounded by some of the world’s finest wines. In addition to the extensive wine choices, there is a very interesting selection of whiskies and cocktails too.
Many of Forti’s staff members have worked with him for over 20 years and are slick, well trained and very knowledgeable. There are always specials available and you definitely want to hear about them before ordering your meals.
Looking for something novel in the City of Gold? This just might tickle your taste buds. (images: Sushi Burrito & Co Instagram) The name certainly had us intrigued – what is this thing you call a “Sushi Burrito” we asked. Well, it’s an unusual pairing of Japanese cuisine and Mexican cooking to bring you – Sushi Burritos.