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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

A lovely little slice of Naples

Doughed ‒ Woodfired Dining Experiences

Where: 196 Gordon Road, Morningside

Open: Tuesday to Wednesday 10.30am to 8.30pm, Thursday to Saturday 10.30am to 3pm. Fine dining Thursday to Saturday 6.30pm to 9.30pm. Booking is essential.

Call: 067 170 7034

Ingrid Shevlin and I stumbled across a surprising little gem on Saturday night. The oddly named Doughed is in the garage of an old home in Gordon Road, just off the main Florida Road strip.

Doughed is the venture of David and Ishara Chetty who fell in love with the food of Italy and Sicily on their honeymoon. The self-trained chefs then went about recreating the dishes back home and soon had a keen following. They opened a fine dining restaurant in the garage of the Queensburgh home and it soon became hugely popular.

Given the opportunity to open a pizzeria, they spent almost a year perfecting their sourdough, so that the traditional hand-stretched pizzas of Naples are spot on, and researching and testing interesting toppings.

The Dinner pizza with roast lamb, butternut, roast potatoes, gravy and mint sauce.

By day, Doughed is a Naples-style pizzeria and cannoleria, more about this Sicilian dessert later. By night on the weekends, it’s a fine dining restaurant.

It took us a while to find the restaurant and we certainly weren’t sure what to expect. After all, fine dining and Florida Road don’t naturally go hand in hand. Fine drinking maybe. I obviously hadn’t got the memo, because the fine dining side hadn’t opened yet, but David, the ever-affable host, encouraged us to try one of his pizzas. He also finds it fitting that his home away from home is a double garage. It’s simply decorated, with the pizza oven at the back. There is a table down the middle, called Our Kitchen Table, at which diners can sit, and a series of banquettes down one side, called the sofa. The interior spills out onto a small deck and the street.

There’s a garden out back and the old house is being renovated into something that may look like the Legacy Yard II.

We happily sit on the deck, sipping lime and lemonade ‒ it’s not licensed yet so you can bring your own ‒ while David takes us through the menu. Oh, that’s after he WhatsApped it to us ‒ there are no menus in the restaurant.

It takes some chutzpah to open a restaurant on seven pizzas, but David has done just that. They are all interesting and will change frequently. There are two versions of the classic Margherita, one with a more reduced tomato and onion base, the other with roast tomatoes. There’s a vegan option with roast carrots, garlic confit, umami mushrooms and cashew nut cream. The Kundan Lal, so named for the man who created butter chicken, is predictably butter chicken with coriander aioli, and the Tony award is Cheese Chantilly, shavings of red onion, fresh salmon, pickled pink pepper, vanilla emulsion and Hollandaise.

A vanilla Bomboloni and pistachio cannoli.

Ingrid eyes the bianco potate, a roast potato pizza with confit garlic, Parmesan and truffle oil (R170). She added to it a Burrato (R50), a Mozzarella ball filled with leftover whey mixed with cream, so the centre oozes a liquid cream cheese all over the pizza. It looked and tasted impressive; the slices of roast potato had been properly roasted and salted, the garlic and then all this oozy creamy cheesiness. David also gave the pizzas a quick dousing with good olive oil at the table to add to the flavours.

I went for The Dinner ‒ David’s take on a lamb roast with slices of roast lamb cooked in the pizza oven, roasted butternut, roast potatoes, gravy and a mint sauce (R230). It was great, one of the better pizzas I’ve had in a while, and enormous. I took half of it home. The pizza also came with a little fresh side salad of spinach, rocket and apple. I always appreciate a salad with pizza because it feels like you’ve eaten something green ‒ after all, it’s a carb heavy meal.

We had to leave room for the dessert. Cannoli, meaning tubes, is a Sicilian speciality of a crisp fried pastry tube filled with sweetened ricotta. Flavours on offer included Vanilla, Nutella and pistachio. We went for the latter and enjoyed it immensely. We also shared a bombolone, an Italian filled doughnut, this time with vanilla cream (R40). These were beautifully fresh. We washed it all down with excellent coffee that David blends himself.

Food: 4


Ambience: 4

The Bill: R785 with tip

The Independent on Saturday


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