A Night of Smoke and Fire with Leonista and Lapo’s Kitchen

Words: Tam Selley

Sarah Kennan, founder of Leonista 100% Agave Spirit, and Lapo Magni, owner and executive chef at Lapo’s kitchen, organised a delicious evening to pay homage to the journey Sarah has taken in creating her brand. A night of smoke and fire was the evening’s theme, with a curated menu inspired by each of Sarah’s milestones along her Leonista journey, comprising of four courses paired with Leonista Agave Spirit infused cocktails.

Lapo’s and Leonista

Lapo’s quirky and cosy Observatory home-turned-dining-venue had been given a Leonista makeover with bottles showing off the new branding. A beautiful long wooden table had been set with old-school wine bottles holding white dripping candles to set the mood. Sautéed scents and happy chatter filled the room, with Lapo and his sous chefs busy in the kitchen, and the SIP team brewing up some cocktail magic at the bar.

LeonistaUpon arrival, we were welcomed with a Lion Aperitivo, comprising of Leonista’s Honey Reposado, Campari and Vermouth to wet the appetite.

Sarah welcomed me with a family-sized squeeze and expressed her elation to have me there. Her warm and affable nature permeates through every aspect of her brand and image – transparent, authentic and truly admirable. Following some introductions, a mini bartending lesson for me, and poking my nose around Lapo’s station for some oohs and ahhs, we were invited to begin our culinary tour.


Bon Appetito

We took our seats and slowly sipped at our remaining drinks while we enjoyed an animated Lapo give us the low-down on his sustainable and ethical approach to food sourcing.

Not only is his philosophy with food inspiring, it actually makes the food that much more enjoyable knowing that it had a dignified journey to your plate. Lapo walked us through each course as it was plated, and how each course drew inspiration from different stages of Sarah’s Leonista journey.



Our first course was Lapo’s take on ceviche. Mackerel marinated in lime, finely sliced onion, chilli, coriander, a touch of honey and Leonista Blanco spiked Tigers Milk. The ceviche was divine, with beautiful citrus notes balanced by the creaminess of the Tigers Milk.

This was served with our barrelled entrée cocktail, an El Copita and a shot of Blanco with smoky sangria.


Wes Kus is die Bes Kus

For the starting course, Lapo graced us with a gorgeous smoky pot of West Coast mussels steamed with hints of smoked paprika, garlic, and celery, and deglazed with Leonista Blanco. These sexy shelled babies were served with warm chunks of fresh crispy bread to soak up all that creamy paprika goodness. I shamelessly asked for a second helping. No regrets.


Our starter was paired with a seaweed-infused Blanco, yellow pepper syrup, lime juice and passion fruit cocktail.

Mango Mania

Palate cleansing flavour bombs came as a quick intermission between courses. We received Blanco infused ice lollies with fresh mango and blackberries.


For our main course, Lapo served us perfectly pink and plump lamb loin chops, flamed and quick smoked, served with smashed roasted potatoes, seared pickled agave flower infused with Leonista Reposado, and finished off with the most divine yoghurt and basil aioli. Lapo sources his lamb locally from the Karoo, and explained that it’s the most unique and tasty lamb due to the fact that they feed on indigenous plant life and fynbos.


Our main was paired with a Honey Cape Sours, with Honey Reposado, lemon juice, agave buds, herbal syrup, egg white and Pinotage.

The City

Just when I thought my stomach couldn’t possibly accommodate any more food, the dessert arrived in all it’s chocolatey decadent glory. The dessert, like everything else on the menu, was sensational.

A picture perfect dark chocolate semifreddo arrived at the table atop Lapo’s take on custard – a very light creamy milk reduction with lemon zest to balance the dense deliciousness of the semifreddo.

Served with a Blanco infused berry compote and a touch of chilli with the right amount of tartness to cut through the sweetness of the semifreddo.


Our final course came with a Reposado, tawny port, white cacao, lime juice, gooseberry and chilli cordial – mmmm.

Bon Voyage

The evening was a truly harmonious symphony of the senses. An evening of tasting, meeting, learning and appreciating – bought together by two of the loveliest people you will ever have the fortune of meeting.

The ideals shared by both Sarah and Lapo are admirable, both set to uplift and support local communities, to produce with respect, and to inspire those around them to consume respectfully and sustainably – they’ll continuously have our support.


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Lapo’s Kitchen: Facebook

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