In my last post I chatted about the MAD GIANT brewery @1Fox, this week we checked out the other half of MAD GIANT, Urbanologi, to find out a little bit more about the food they serve alongside the delicious beer. The restaurant’s Head Chef, Angelo Scirocco, sat down with us to give us the scoop on the concept, the ingredients and idea behind his new venture.
Urbanologi is a small plate tapas restaurant with a Japanese influence. The menu is simple and elegant and arranged into categories according to how the food is prepared. This was something I had not seen, but to be honest, I thought it was great to be able to choose raw, kushiyaki, steamed or cured dishes from a selection of their counterparts as opposed to a conventional layout.
The name Urbanologi pays homage to the concept behind the restaurant, which attempts to blend seamlessly into it’s environment. The concept was born in Cape Town, where foraging is a popular trend. Chef Angelo decided to attempt to apply the same philosophy of using what is fresh, seasonal and available in an area and apply it to the City of Gold, with awe inspiring results. The urbanized nature of Jozi lead to the concept of street food and tapas being prepared in an open kitchen, for all to see. This is blended with the Japanese concept of a brewery, with MAD GIANT occupying the other half of the space. The “i” on the end of the name is also the result of Japanese influence, as many Japanese foods end in “i” – for example, sushi & teriyaki.
The street food philosophy is clear as most of the food is prepared over a flame on over coals. The kitchen is also stripped of a lot of “unnecessary equipment” to allow the freshness of the ingredients, or the flavours introduced by curing to really shine and champion the dishes. In terms of ingredients – everything is handpicked from the market to ensure that only the very best on offer reaches your plate.
We tried a few different dishes, but what stood out for us was the Deongang Beef with truffled cauliflower puree and braised onions. The fillet was one of the most tender I have ever eaten and the delicate flavours of the truffle created a delicious dish. You definitely have to give it a try. If that doesn’t appeal to you why not try the fillet and soba noodles with wasabi – you will definitely be surprised!
For a starch we had the steamed brioche with truffle creme and roasted potato skin salt.The brioche was light and fluffy and the contrasting flavours of each brioche create an interesting combination of flavours.
Another great dish was the cured & smoked pork neck with puree’d quince and and baby choy. The puree is delicious and has a complex flavour which really goes well with the pork and choy.
On the desert side, we had the blackcurrant sorbet with plums and liquorice powder. I really enjoyed the different textures of diced dried, fresh and stewed plums alongside the smooth and tangy sorbet. I prefer a lighter dessert and for me this hit the spot perfectly!