After posting my “Head-Up” article about Massimo’s, I decided I had to head through for a Friday night dinner to check out their recently-launched vegan menu!
Address: Oakhurst Farm Park, Main Rd, Hout Bay
Hours: 12pm-9pm Mon-Sun
Massimo’s is one of those places that when you walk through the door you begin to ask yourself, “Why have I never been here?” – and that is before you’ve even ordered anything! The room has an ambiance and warmth to it that makes you feel like there’s no other place you’d rather be!
Pizza chefs worked furiously at one end of the room beside the pizza oven whilst waiters and waitresses wove between tables with their food creations.
Our host/MC for the evening was Chris (manager and chef extraordinaire) who, along side owner Massimo and his wife Tracy, runs the business. Chris has worked in the industry for many years, both here and abroad and it became clear throughout the evening that he has a vast and passionate knowledge about food, flavours, ingredients, and combinations. He explained that although many of the dishes existed on the menu previously, the restaurant has now decided to create an entirely separate vegan menu to make life easier.
He also announced that Bae and I were to be the FIRST to try a new dish he has been working on – Vegan Melanzane. It was the first time in 17 years that he allowed a customer to try a new dish that he hadn’t yet tried himself. What a complete honour!
For those unfamiliar, Melanzane is a classic Italian dish of sliced aubergine layered with mozzarella (vegan, obvs!) and tomato sauce and in this case, finished with breadcrumbs (instead of Parmesan).
All I can say next is that Chris took us to vegan food heaven and back with his new creation. It was utterly delicious and we devoured it before Chris had a chance to come back to the table and try it for himself (sorry, Chris!). We then fought over who was going to lick the bowl! (no, really) It really was THAT good…and incredible to believe that it was vegan.
Although we could have probably moved straight on to our main courses we decided to order a couple of dishes from the tapas menu, the Patate Brave and Belladonna – both of which were simple, no fuss, tasty dishes. Massimo also brought us a small taster of the A Fagiolo (marinated borlotti beans). Where possible, everything is homemade and the dishes we had tried thus far clearly endorsed that.
The main course was a choice between various pizza and pasta options and we both opted for a pizza. Their bases are made with GMO-free stone-ground flour from Eureka Mills and you can choose an olive oil and rosemary or tomato base.
I opted to go classic and chose the Margherita and Bae ordered a Quattro (baby spinach, pine nuts, roasted garlic, mushrooms and balsamic reductions) with extra vegan cheese. As a variation (and experiment!) Chris recommended taking the Quattro on the farinata base (a soft non-crunchy gluten free base made with chickpea flour, olive oil, and water). It turned out to be the best advice! It had the texture of a pancake and the mouthwatering combination of flavours was a winner! The Margherita (with a traditional pizza base) was as classic and gratifying as you could hope for.
We sat grinning and greedily stuffing our faces from beginning the beginning of the evening to end. Legit, honest food.
To finish off I ordered the chocolate ice cream with caramel sauce (all completely vegan of course). Chris told us about his desire to create a vegan key lime pie so hopefully now we’ve mentioned this and word is out there, we’ve left him with no choice..!
We eventually waddled out of Massimo’s with full hearts and tight waists!
And if you think this is all then wait there’s more…
Something that I believe speaks volumes about Massimo’s is their local ‘PayItForward‘ charity scheme. Customers can buy one or more R10 ‘virtual’ slices of pizza and for every 6 slices sold Massimo’s will deliver one pizza to a local charity/institution. To date, over 790 pizzas have been donated so far!
Check out their 2-minute YouTube video that explains it all!
Massimo’s is the PERFECT place for those looking for delicious, home-cooked food. If you haven’t been – GO! It is especially good if you are with a mixed party struggling to find somewhere that can cater for all food desires and preferences.
We will be back again and again….and again.
Before you go, check out my Top 5 list and see where Massimo’s ranks under “Italian Restaurants” and don’t forget to pop on over to my YouTube channel as well!