CALM: Chef Theo Penati and chef Michaelangelo D’Oria. Pictures: Mischa DurRant
Bree Street has become Cape Town's trendy food hub with new restaurant's popping up almost weekly. 

This trendy stretch is now home to a new Italian fine dining restaurant helmed by first third generation Michelin Star chef, Theo Penati.

Pierino Penati, on the third floor at Villa 47 Emporio Italiano, opened last Friday night.

My expectations were high. The first Pierino Penati restaurant, in Italy, has received rave reviews and four to five-star ratings on Facebook and Tripadvisor.

Once you survive the three flights of stairs, the open kitchen is one of the first things you look into. If you are lucky you will catch a glimpse of Chef Theo or Chef Michelangelo D’Oria and their team plating a few Italian classics.

Decor is elegantly simple, soft lighting falling on neutral colour walls, table cloths and floors. The limited space is suitable for an intimate dining experience, but can also accommodate a larger group.

However, at times I felt the couple on either side of me were a little too close for privacy.

I made a quick visit to the kitchen for a brief introduction to Chef Theo, who appeared surprisingly calm for an opening night.

With a broad smile and his best English, he said he was excited to serve up his dishes.

The first of the five courses was a sea bass tartare (crispy vegetables, toasted bread and yoghurt sauce). I am still undecided whether I enjoyed it.

A dish I did enjoy was the crunchy octopus with fluffy potatoes, green beans and green apple bits.

EXCITING: Crunchy octopus with fluffy potatoes, green beans and
apple bits.

The Luddite Saboteur white blend was the perfect pairing for this dish.

On to course number three, risotto milanese. I enjoyed the Parmesan flavour a lot more than I did the saffron.

This was not mine, nor my partner’s, favourite dish of the night, and was the only plate we sent back with food left.

The slow-cooked beef cheek with asparagus and extra virgin olive oil potatoes was the second last course. This is a third generation recipe Chef Theo says he is proud to share with Cape Town, to show his Italian traditions.

The meat was amazingly soft and succulent, and the potato as comfortingly soft and fluffy as that with the octopus.

COMFORTING: Slow-cooked beef cheek with asparagus and extra-virgin olive oil potatoes.

For the finale we were served fragoloso with ovis mollis biscuits, strawberries in bonarda and cream cheese served with sweet dessert wine. I loved the different textures and flavours on the plate and the sweetness of the wine to round it off.

Pierino Penati is very different from the other restaurants at Villa 47 and intentionally so. It is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 6.30pm to 10pm.

Seats are limited so reservation is recommended.

* For bookings call 021 418 2740 or email [email protected]