Amarcord, the movie, won an Oscar for best foreign language film when it was released forty years ago. Let’s see if Amarcord, the restaurant in the Thrupps Centre in Illovo, Johannesburg, will get a food Oscar from Eat Out magazine, that Cape-based and focused dictator of culinary fashion. Open barely a month, Luciana Righi of Assaggi fame (below) has once again taken up her ladels to berate her cooks in a continuous culinary comedy on the boards of the theatre-style aquarium kitchen. Amarcord means “I remember” and Luciana has forgotten nothing about serving Italian comfort food with a few Fellini-inspired innovations.
Mario, perpetually happily harassed maître d’ from Assaggi days, is partner and actor-cum-son-in-law Clayton (below) – with an MA in Shakespeare from Alabama – does duty three days a week between shooting a movie on the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster. Luckily for him, he is not an astronaut and luckily for us he was on duty yesterday to serve our anchovy filets with pickles matched with an ancient Veuve Clicquot Champagne we brought along (corkage is R65) while the Cantermerle 2001 was great with the Cotoletta alla Milanese. He should try Tennessee Williams next, as he has terrific smouldering potential.
We scored lunch “magnifico, stupendo” on our Italian fine dining scale and look forward to many more culinary memories. George Dalla Cia was also in the room and next time he should bring his camera with for New York is not the only urban metropolis worth pixilating.