I was recently invited to a media launch at Carné on Keerom. Full disclosure – Carné happens to be my favourite eatery when it’s a great piece of red meat I’m craving which, incidentally, is rather often.
Aside from the industrial chic interior of Carne on Keerom which works so well with its inner city location, it’s really Chef-proprietor Giorgio Nava’s focus on, and unerring commitment to quality ingredients that sets Carne apart and has afforded Nava’z a string of awards for best Italian restaurant over the past two decades. He is also respected for his uncompromising quality and his unflinching faithfulness to traditional north Italian cuisine using South African field-to-table provenance.
Born in Milan in 1964, Giorgio’s passion for cooking began early and by his early 20s was working the kitchen coalface as a trainee alongside some of the finest Italian chefs. He completed his training as a Certified Master Chef of Italian Cuisine.
Giorgio was one of the first to introduce a wide selection of fish and beef carpaccio, delicate handcrafted pastas as well as the decadent chocolate fondant to South Africans. With the opening of Carné on Keerom in 2008, Giorgio pioneered a new approach to enjoying diverse prime cuts, allowing the meat to do the talking in the true Italian minimalist tradition. Carné on Keerom was a natural extension of his passion for Romagnola beef, Dorper lamb and venison sourced from the Karoo.
On arrival, while sipping bubbly and mingling, we nibbled on chunks to Grana Pardano a more subtle, yet just as delis version of Parmigiano.
We feasted on a carefully curated menu specially selected for the media to showcase dishes that many would perhaps overlook.
Starters included the Veal tongue carpaccio which was melt-in-the mouth delicious. This was my first-time eating tongue and I was amazed at how subtle yet delicious it tasted.
Next up was a sample of the homemade Ravioli of slow cooked baked Karoo lamb shoulder with sage butter and parmesan cheese. It was beyond spectacular and I can assure you, the next time I visit Carne, I’ll be diverting from my usual fillet & will be eating this instead.
The main meat meal was something I’d never typically consider ordering, but after sampling it, I have to wonder why? The Safari: Misto di Selvaggina is a plate of four fillets of of ostrich, Kudu, wildebeest and impala. All four pieces of meat were succulent and super tasty. The cuts were served with what I assume was duck fat roasted potatoes & crispy French Fries. If like me you love red meat, but you think your taste buds are more traditional, try some game, you’ll be surprised at just how good they are.
Dessert was a refreshing mixed berry salad with a mascarpone sorbet – the perfect finale to a delicious meal on what was a very hot day.
The good news is that Giorgio is reigniting his restaurant portfolio by reopening 95 at Parks in Constantia, Carné on Keeroom and Carné on Kloof; both in the city. Giorgio’s authentic Italian pâtisserie and coffee bar – Caffé Milano Pasticceria & Bar has also found a new address at LOCAL on Heritage Square, making for an ideal city pitstop for a beautiful pastry and a great coffee.
And, come October, Giorgio is reopening the signature 95 Keerom, launched in 2003. This was his first restaurant in Cape Town. I cannot wait!
Carné on Keerom 70 Keerom Street, Cape Town.