Review: Mediterranean fare with a light touch at Mangiamo at Wicker Woods in Port Elizabeth
Friday, January 30th, 2015
Petro Lotz discovers that local suppliers are given time to shine in Mediterranean fare like thin-based pizzas, beautiful salads and homemade pasta at Mangiamo at Wicker Woods in Port Elizabeth.
Mangiamo’s food philosophy, as set out in the menu, includes using organically grown herbs, olives and olive oil from an Eastern Cape supplier and stoneground flour for their pizza bases and linguine.
The pizza bases are super thin and the toppings deliciously sparse, featuring interesting combinations such as carpaccio and green fig; and rocket, blue cheese, pear and Parma ham. The tomato and gorgonzola soup starter boasts marvellous, deep flavours and comes beautifully presented with very moreish slices of bread. The pastas arrive in hefty and unfussy portions, just like mama used to make them.
The Caprese salad is a thing of beauty: according to the menu, the mozzarella is made by a cheesemaker in Plettenberg Bay. Gluten-free pizza bases are available and vegetarians are spoilt for choice with the predominantly Mediterranean menu. One almost feels that the Asian dishes are superfluous and that the focus should rather just be Italian, but then the Thai Curry hits such a good spot that all’s forgiven.
The wine list is a joy to behold, with a large and interesting variety, and the added bonus that almost all of the offerings are available by the glass. Bottle pricing is reasonable, but the bill gets quite steep when you order by the glass.
The presence of the friendly, relaxed owner, as well as a troop of happy, young and energetic waiters mean that guests never have to wait long for service. While the waiters are generally not too well informed about the menu, this is not the end of the world, since the owner is on the floor all the time and happy to explain.
Mangiamo is housed in an antique shop with delightful décor, complete with a fountain in the centre of one of the rooms. Antique rugs beneath an eclectic mixture of tables keep patrons cosy. The pizza oven is in sight of the restaurant and the jovial noise of families and friends having dinner, plus the sound of the coffee machine running on the counter, creates a happy buzz.
You can shop for antiques while dining, and parking is safe within the walled yard of the business.
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