“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.”
Scheduled to open in October 2017 in Parktown North, the restaurant is inspired by ‘peasant food’ from the Spanish, French and Italian countryside. Dishes will be fresh, simple and rustic: roast chicken, slow-cooked pork, charcuterie boards, salads, homemade pasta and pizza from the in-house wood-fired oven – all using seasonal ingredients.
This will be James’ most sustainable restaurant to date, with 95% of the produce used coming from the Diack family farm in Magaliesberg – Brightside. “All three of my restaurants offer something different – Coobs is refined dining, The National is a neighbourhood dining room away from home, and The Federal is our take on a NY-style diner. But they all have one thing in common, seasonality,” says James. “Il Contadino will be the perfect spot for a morning coffee from the espresso bar, a light lunch or after-work drink.”
The 133m2 restaurant, located on the corner of 4th Avenue and 7th Avenue in Parktown North, will seat 90 and provide indoor and outdoor seating. The interior design and décor process will once again be spearheaded by Janet Diack, James’ mother and farmer at Brightside Farm, so expect reclaimed and refurbished items that extend the farm-to-table concept from the plates to the walls, floors and furnishings.
“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. 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.”
Follow their journey on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ilcontadinojhb/
*Food Pictures from The Joburg Foodie