La Luna of Melville | Johannesburg
"A beautifully simple Italian restaurant. An eatery that is as elegant & stylish as it is deliciously homely.
Words by Lauren Hills
Combining the forces of a renowned global chef, a pastry chef with Michelin-starred restaurant experience and the buzzing heart of Melville, La Luna is helping to bring back the shine to this slightly tarnished, street-side dining suburb.
A beautifully simple Italian restaurant, the self-proclaimed ‘lunatic chefs’ Klaus Beckmann and Lindy Pretorius have created an eatery that is as elegant and stylish as it is deliciously homely.
The décor is understated, with locally-made rustic wooden furniture, vintage-looking mirrors along the walls and comfy scatter cushions in blue fabric lining the booths. Each table is topped with a solar-powered Consol jar, giving the restaurant a warm, almost moonlit glow.
Reflecting the essence of Italian cuisine, the utmost importance is placed on ingredients. Almost every ingredient is locally sourced, and if anything does need to be imported, only the finest products are chosen.
The pasta is made on site, and you can expect beautifully fresh ravioli, tortellini and agnolotti that are produced daily by hand. A celebration of rustic Italian cooking and family recipes passed down from generation to generation, the menu holds a mouthwatering selection.
From Tuscan-style bread salads, antipasti of roast peppers, mozzarella, artichokes and baby calamari to hearty pumpkin ravioli and spaghetti carbonara – the menu is packed with Mediterranean flavour.
We enjoyed a classic Caprese salad with a twist, as the soft buffalo mozzarella was served on top of shredded lettuce and rocket. The drizzle of sweet, tangy reduced balsamic vinegar and zesty cherry tomatoes elevated the dish nicely.
For mains I tucked into the Milanese speciality of ossobucco, and enjoyed the rich tomatoey flavours of the slow cooked veal shank. The meat was irresistibly succulent and melt-in-the-mouth.
My dining partner tried out the oxtail agnolotti, a signature dish of Chef Klaus – a plate of perfectly cooked pasta pouches stuffed with seared oxtail and topped with a creamy parmesan sauce. The meat was lovely and tender, infused with rustic vegetable flavours.
For dessert, we shared Chef Lindy’s ricotta cheesecake which had a buttery, biscuit base and a silky, vanilla-infused cheesecake centre. Topped with fresh berries, this was a wonderful end to the meal.
A relaxed-but-memorable evening out, you can expect to pay about R450 per person, including wine.
(Images via La Luna of Melville)
Italian | comfy & relaxed