Luce Restaurant

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1st Road, Hyde Park, Southern Sun Hotel, Sandton 2024, South Africa



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    4.0 rating based on 1 rating
    Oct 2014 · Dana Sanchez

    When I ate at Bice Restaurant in Johannesburg's Southern Sun Hyde Park Hotel, the chef came out to tell me that the restaurant...

    When I ate at Bice Restaurant in Johannesburg’s Southern Sun Hyde Park Hotel, the chef came out to tell me that the restaurant name would soon change to Luce. He would stay on as executive chef, and the menu would shrink a bit but otherwise remain the same.

    That’s a good thing for Johannesburg. This authentic Italian restaurant has a reputation for fine dining and makes most of its homemade pastas fresh daily.

    Nicolai Giuseppe Pareti studied at the PAS Rimini Hotel School in Italy, then worked for the next 20 years at restaurants in Italy, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. He was executive chef for Disney and Oceania cruise lines before opening Goloso Restaurant & Deli in Cape Town.

    Pareti joined Tsogo Sun in 2012 as head chef at Bice Restaurant, recently renamed Luce.

    I went there for dinner late on a Sunday night when the restaurant was almost empty and had the undivided attention of Pareti and restaurant manager Luciano Grassato.

    I sipped on Diemersdal pinotage, a uniquely South African wine, while enjoying a salad of rocket (arugula), truffle oil, parmesan, sundried tomato and lemon dressing. Next came spaghetti alla vodka with prawns, tomato and a touch of cream.

    I chose my dessert for its name — my new favorite word — cioccolatissimo. It was worth waiting the extra 15 minutes for soft chocolate souffle with vanilla ice cream, amaretto crunch and a crown of dried pineapple. The molten interior of the souffle spilled out and made me want to lick my plate, but I didn’t.

    Bice is short for Beatrice, the woman who started the now fourth-generation restaurant in 1926 in Milan. There are 30-plus Bice restaurants around the world including in Dubai and Orlando. The Johannesburg location opened five years ago. They feature classical dishes from all over Italy — dishes such as ravioli with veal and mushroom, or ricotta and spinach, and spaghetti alla chitarra, typical of Abruzzo, Italy.

    The way the food is prepared at this restaurant is appreciated, Grassato said. Italian pasta is different. The percentage of gluten differs from the local pasta, and you can taste the difference, he said.

    Lots of Italian wines are served, but more so South African, which make up 70 percent of sales.

    High up in the multi-story Southern Sun Hyde Park hotel, the restaurant commands great night views of the city lights. On the walls are black and photo photos of classic Italian actors Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. It’s a good place for a special occasion.


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