La Stalla in Joburg, is a new offering from serial restaurateur and chef, James Diack. Styled as an industrial chic pizzeria, it offers an authentic response to the resurgent and vibrant bohemian scene that is taking hold in Melville, after many years of decline. It seems that Melville has found its mojo again, and what better way to signal this than a new offering from Diack?
La Stalla maintains the Diack dedication to food providence, sourcing organic menu ingredients from the family farm, Brightside. This time though, he has re-imagined them into a delightful offering of small plates, wood fired dishes, and yes, pizzas!
Ambience: Chilled industrial-chic pizzeria (4/5)
Food & Wine: Italian tapas (small plates), wood-fired mains, pastas and pizzas (4/5)
Service: Excellent! Attentive and efficient. (5/5)
Overall: Cool pizzeria-styled restaurant offering so much more than great pizzas
The restaurant styling has taken the eclectic chic theme that plays throughout the other Diack offerings (Coobs, The National and Il Contadino) and interprets it more playfully. In keeping with the younger, bohemian vibe of Melville, they have created a relaxed, pop-in-any-time and inviting all-day eat and drink experience.
FOOD & WINE
Our group of six embarrassingly devoured almost every small plate on offer, and then a frightening number of mains and desserts! Diack has threaded a hint of the familiar into La Stalla with the inclusion of one or two signature dishes that leave his indelible finger print across the diverse group of restaurants under his ownership – the wild boar ragu is a dead giveaway that you are in Brightside country, and blissfully so!
Especially noteworthy from the small plates are the arancini (crispy fried risotto balls) – order all of the variations – well worth it. Subtle, yet complex flavours pour out of the marinated mozzarella, and the home-made chorizo is sublime. Soft, grainy and deeply flavourful – a far cry from the dense, fatty, processed versions offered by themed Porto restaurants.
Mains that stand out were the wood-fired roasted chicken, and the Salciccia and Parmesan mash. It would be a crime to call this bangers and mash. Diack has truly developed and honed his meat curing skills over recent years, and his pork sausages are just fantastic.
The highlight dessert was a Sicilian lemon tart served with marscarpone, and the gelato offering was a close second.
The wine list is accessible, quirky and friendly – to both palate and wallet. In fact, the whole experience was a refreshing departure from the constantly escalating menu prices in Jozi. La Stalla has clearly made an effort to be accessible, while serving uncompromisingly great food. A good fit for the new Melville.
Great service has become synonymous with Diack’s restaurants, and La Stalla is no exception. Quietly confident and knowledgeable servers provide an unobtrusive attention to detail that is a hallmark of a great restaurateur, and makes the experience thoroughly enjoyable.
6, 7th Street, Melville, Johannesburg, Gauteng
Tel: 010 900 4876
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