Where is Walter?

Perhaps the most controversial Eat Out award this year was Best Italian Restaurant. Which convinced me that I know diddly squat about la Cucina Italiana. Fancy that, all those years eating the pasta of Luciana Righi, the risotto of Giorgio Nava, the veal rack of Daniel Toledo and I was at the wrong address all the time! I should have been at the Old Biscuit Mill. So when I tasted the deep fried zucchini flowers of Walter Dri (below) at Food|Wine|Design last month in Hyde Park, I thought: at last a chance to get re-educated.

IMG 1572 615x345 Where is Walter?

Poised to curate a Friuli Feast at the Taj Hotel, I reckon the new-wave dishes of Walter are exactly what I need to take my taste buds to the Next Level. Plus the Tzatziki on toast and Merlot of Michela Sfiligoi from Ayama. The plan is to persuade Roberto Bottega from Idiom Wines to put some of the Iconic Italians he imports up against the Teano of Giorgio Dalla Cia, the Ayama Sauvignon Blanc, the operatic blends of Giulio Bertrand. All in the sympathetic environment the Taj brings to any party. Of course, it will be done blind and not à la Platter.

It will be agriturismo writ large. Old World meets New at the last stop before Antarctica. But somehow I’ve misplaced Water. Somewhere between Hyde Park and Higgovale, he got away. If anyone sees him, please give him an espresso and point him in the direction of Wale Street and St. George’s Mall. A whole host of SA food and wine lovers don’t know what they’ve been missing all their lives.