If you squint you could be looking at Lake Como, and George Clooney, in relaxed linen, could be eating the filetto di peperoncino at a table near you. That’s if it’s a flat-sea day and the Indian Ocean resembles your welcoming focaccia.

Bel Punto June 2008 002-min

Heavenly Bel Punto in Durban

The heavenly view of the ocean and subtle food flavours evoke a poem by Helen Moffett: “across a sea shouting blue… a red container ship passes as if drawn by a string… and view splice, and for a slice… I’m jolted into unexpected joy.”

Seated at Bel Punto restaurant on a summer’s day enjoying the soft sensation of the other-worldly risotto con gamberi had this sublime, poetic effect. The meal is light and layered with rich cream, Italian tomatoes, perfumed wine and ocean-fresh prawns with Arborio rice.

The last time I had such a jolt of joy over a risotto was at Haute Cabrière Cellar Restaurant on its Franschoek wine estate sampling the delish mushroom risotto.

I would love to try a refreshing lemon risotto on this menu, perhaps as a summer special. I think such a dish would make Anna Del Conte’s heart sing, as does the restaurant’s melanzane alla parmigiana for me.

To invoke a long, lazy lunch in Naples we shared the melanzane alla parmigiana. The chef captured the essence of Mediterranean magic with his heavenly aubergines. Despite Parmesan being dubbed the soul of this dish, the chef went easy on the mozzarella without losing that delicate melt-in-the-mouth result.

Bel Punto is famed for its fresh seafood, so we ordered the pesce del giorno (catch of the day), which was kingklip with traditional garlic and lemon, and light vegetables. There was silence from my partner as she tucked in, then sighed a happy sigh.

The calamari ripieni – calamari stuffed with spinach, prawn and roasted red pepper, smothered with Italian tomatoes, chilli and mozzarella, and baked in a wood-fired oven – was tempting, but next time.

We drank refreshing ginger berry fizz with lashings of fresh ginger, slices of oranges and shaken with cranberry juice.

This is a family-run, authentic Italian restaurant owned by lovely Italians. Bel Punto is certainly up there with some of the great Cape Town restaurants. Highly recommend.

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Taste for yourself:

Bel Punto

031 568 2407

Words: Suzy Bell
Images: Supplied

 

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