“My wife always said if I opened a fourth eatery it would have to be called ‘Divorce’ or ‘The Singles Club’,” laughs Chef James Diack. “Instead, I’ve decided to call it Il Contadino, which means ‘the farmer’ in Italian and really embodies the spirit of our season-focused, farm-to-table style.”
Il Contadino, set to open in October in the heart of Parktown North, will serve three farm-style meals every day. In a menu prepared as an ode to the humble, rural food of the Italian, Spanish and French countryside, you can expect simple and rustic dishes like homemade pastas, woodfired pizzas, slow cooked pork and roast chicken, all using seasonal and sustainable ingredients.
With produce entirely supplied by the Diack family farm in the Magaliesburg, this menu really serves good on its promise for a ‘farm-to-table’ dining experience. Chef Diack has, over the last two years, established himself as the go-to guy for provenance so much so that all three of his current restaurants, Coob, The Federal and The National, use ingredients that are 95% derived from the farm. With Il Contadino, it’ll be 100%.
It’s set to be the kind of casual spot you can pop into for a leisurely morning espresso or a lazy afternoon lunch or an after-work drink and bite. You can look forward to an extensive wine list of boutique wines, Aperol Spritz on tap and a beautifully arranged atmosphere. With both indoor and outdoor seating, the eatery’s decor will be once again designed by the chef’s mother, Janet Diack. Expect reclaimed, refurbished items to extend the farm-style concept from the food to to the plates, walls, floor and furnishings.
Best of all? Il Contadino is going to be easy on the pocket. “I’m trying to build a restaurant that’s going to fit into where our economy’s going, so it’s not going to be expensive”, Chef Diack explains. “I’m trying to keep prices down and keep things casual in every aspect: simple glassware, enamel plates, dishcloths for napkins. It’s going be fun and rustic, but not kitsch.”
Keep an eye out on their Facebook page for more updates.