Gwynne Conlyn
Gwynne Conlyn

Regulars slaver over the Italian cuisine at Dolci Café in Craighall Park because it is consistently good

There’s always something to tempt me at breakfast. Some might opt for their savoury fare, but I ignore the Banting dictum and have one of Jackie’s famous desserts. My favourite is the white chocolate amarula cheesecake, with a cup of strong coffee.

Rich coming from someone who doesn’t have a sweet tooth, I know, but I can indulge in their regular or ‘specials’ menu any other time.

Pasta Dolci

When the need for pasta overcomes me, nonna Luciana Righi’s velvety variety with baby tomatoes and basil pesto lures me from my desk.

The asparagus and Brie lasagna (a twist on the classic with homemade pasta, oozing Brie and fresh asparagus) is a signature dish that evolved from the discovery of some Brie in the fridge, when Luciana had to prepare for a party.

Dolci is genuine, not only in terms of the cuisine, but also, the unaffected charm of the owners: gorgeous Chef Jackie Righi-Boyd, her husband, actor Clayton Boyd (Generations: The Legacy) and their partner Zoran Mijailovic.

Chef Jackie comes from a dynasty of restaurateurs and her mother – the super-nonna-chef Luciana Righi of Assaggi, Tre Nonni and Amarcord fame – is part of the team.

“Food isn’t just nourishment, it is life,” says the celebrated Luciana.

I and many others have slavishly followed Luciana and indeed, she greets one like an almost-forgotten fond friend.

Luciana Righi
The celebrated Luciana Righi

I remember one had to book at Assaggi – after all, everyone knew how uncompromising Luciana’s standards could be. Of course we were all there for the food, for the legend she is, but also for rubbernecking; pretending not to notice the famous and infamous lurking at other tables.

Other menu items include Tagliata di Manzo (sliced beef fillet with slow cooked Italian tomatoes and potato wedges), Tagliatelle Ragu (homemade flat pasta with the traditional Bolognese sauce) and Cotoletta di Pollo (chicken schnitzel served with tomato, boiled baby potatoes in butter and parsley and a cheese sauce).

Dolci’s fabulous pastries include well-loved classics like cannoli (cream horns), pasticcini (pastries) and bigne (eclairs). These – and other – famous desserts beg indulgence. Do as I do though, take a stand against Banting and have them for breakfast.

  • Dolci Café, at 28 Clarence Avenue, Craighall Park, is open every day.
  • Phone: 010 900 2274