A Rose by Any Other Name… Forti Grill & Bar

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Noble Savage (he said):

By now most of you would have heard about the new casino in Pretoria, named Times Square.

Apart from the obvious gambling, a lot of airtime was given to the restaurants, particularly Guy Fiery and J-Something’s places. Both these have had very mixed reviews so far, as it seems they’re both experiencing some teething problems. Forti Grill & Bar (in my experience) was not given as much publicity as the other two restaurants. So while staying over at the lovely Capital Menlyn Maine, we decided to have dinner where the smart money goes – Forti Grill and Bar.

You might remember some time ago we visited Ritrovo one last time. Read https://socialsavage.co.za/2017/03/28/ides-of-march-saying-farewell-to-a-legend/

Since then, Chef Fortunato Mazzone has taken most of the Ritrovo staff, and set up shop at the casino. Experienced staff = consistency. And from the get-go it was evident that the staff knew what they were doing.

The interior is the exact opposite of Ritrovo. Ritrovo was quite dated, and some of the décor had seen better times. Forti’s Bar and Grill is thoroughly modern and clean, and the décor is right up there with the likes of Marble. The space is well utilised, and centred around a well-stocked bar.

We were seated in the inside, but an outside area is also available. To the back is the kitchen, with large windows through which one can view all the action. And to the side is an awe-inspiring wall of wine (would look great in my house…)

First things first: the wine. Ritrovo was famous for their extensive wine list and wine cellar, and the wine list at Forti did not disappoint. The menu states that a wine list is a personal document reflecting the preferences of the team. Their preference is clearly quality wines. After our waiter, Elvis, poured my glass of Saronsberg Grenache, he asked if he could decant it – I thought this is such a wonderful touch, as a wine of this quality needs to be decanted.

The menu is very meat and grill focussed, as the name should suggest, but there’s still some lovely homemade pasta on the menu. I decided to go for the Fettuccine Frutti di Mare – seafood pasta! Obviously no mixed seafood packs was dumped into this pasta (I openly weep at the sight of a crab stick); only the freshest is good enough. The pasta is homemade, so does a delightful job of soaking up the delicious sauce. Definitely a winner!

Special mention – a friend (Michael) dining with us opted to go for the fried Sole (one of the night’s specials). He didn’t get a Sole; he got a fucking Whale! I honestly didn’t know Soles could be this size – it was about 50cm in length. Michael knows his way around food, but couldn’t finish the whole thing. And, he said, it was one of the best he’s ever had.

We had quite a long day, so after dinner we decided to turn in.  We later heard we just missed the singers performing to the patrons (those of you familiar with Chef Forti would know of his passion for music, and in particular Opera).  But we will be back!  Check out the tasting menus and Italian Feast menu on www.forti.co.za – if this is not on your food bucket list, you are dead inside.


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