So the name is a bit misleading and a little confusing. I wasn’t sure whether to expect a typical Italian family restaurant with red and white checked tablecloths and old wine bottles holding dripping candles or the sort of over refined, slightly pretentious restaurant where one would partake of delicate morsels of delight before proceeding to a night at the Opera! Indeed I was surprised on both fronts as it turned out to be unlike either option I’d considered.
The restaurant is set in an old house close to Avondale Shopping Centre surrounded by very pretty tropical gardens. The interior has been tastefully refurbished in a sort of “post-modern European” style, casual but elegant, with vibrant cheerful colours. We chose a table in the garden and enjoyed the warm winter sun. The garden is quite close to the road, but as it was a Sunday lunch time there weren’t a lot of passing cars – although it might be noisier during the week.
Our waiter quickly brought us the menus and offered us a choice of soft drinks. I was hoping for a bottle of wine to accompany our meal but the waiter informed us that no alcohol was served. I asked if we could bring our own wine and be charged a corkage fee, but alas it was not permitted. As I took a quick look at the menu, I realised the reason for his reticence – printed at the top was “Welcome to our Halaal Continental, Fusion Restaurant offering Western, Indian, Chinese and Italian cuisine”.
“Ah,” I thought, “a classic case of multiple personality disorder.” Looking around more carefully I wasn’t sure if Sopranos was trying to be a coffee shop or a full on family restaurant, or both, and reading the menu more closely confused me even more. The menu started off with fairly typical breakfasts (although being Halaal obviously no bacon) and went on to toasted sandwiches, burgers rolls and wraps.
Apart from the confusion of Indian, Chinese and Italian food at the top the menu we also had Portuguese steak rolls and Tex Mex beef! The main part of the menu continued in a similar vein offering a bewildering variety of food from all over the world – Chinese noodles, Indian curries, Portuguese chicken and Italian pasta.
However, like true explorers we pressed on regardless. We chose a seafood salad as a starter which was more than enough to share between the three of us. The lettuce was fresh and crispy and topped with a mixture of tuna and prawns and a very good dressing. For main courses my two colleagues chose grilled tilapia with chips and a Godfather chicken burger. Both meals were good – fairly simple food but well-cooked and nicely presented and, I was informed, very tasty. I was a little more adventurous and decided on the mutton Korma – a mild but spicy curry served with yoghurt and masala gravy.
I was a little concerned when the meat arrived on one plate and the rice on another but there was no third plate to dish up a little rice and a little curry to be eaten together. However, being ever resourceful I just poured some of the curry onto the rice and mixed it all up together.
The mutton was very tender and tasty but I would have enjoyed some of the accompaniments that are usually served with curries. For dessert we had excellent espressos (real Italian) and delicious chocolate cake.
Overall the meal was good, the service friendly and efficient and the pricing reasonable, but I felt that the proprietors could do themselves a big favour by focusing more on their identity and their specialities.
Deluxe Coffee Shop
Expect to spend US$10 to US$30 per head