REGULARS at Leonardo’s at the Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth will be happy to learn it has reopened after extensive refurbishment that has seen its kitchen and part of the interior completely revamped.
Leonardo’s has also tweaked its menu, which was tested out on a select group of guests at the popular Italian restaurant last week.
Owner Neville Watt came down from Jo’burg for the event where guests like Salvelio and I were treated to bite-size samples from the new menu.
Looking far more like a boy surfer than the highly successful businessman he is, Watt said he’d flown here some 12 years ago to compete in the Ironman.
He had also read an article on the plane about how PE was going to be the next big thing.
That set the course for his and a group of friends’ investment in the city, which has become his second home, he says.
Among the more unusual new dishes he and his team have introduced are a South African-themed rainbow pizza topped with boerewors, chakalaka and spinach (everybody else loved it but I’ve never been a chakalaka fan).
Others added to the list of new dishes include a pesto and sun-dried tomato pasta and a Palermo bacon and avocado pizza. The refurbishment also coincided with the return of some old favourites.
“Yes, the Da Vinci’s pizza is back on the menu,” general manager Kasha Nowak said.
She was part of the team that opened the franchise at the Boardwalk 12 years ago.
Another fresh touch is that the huge wood-fired pizza oven has been rebuilt “so it can last another decade”, Nowak said.
With a capacity of cooking 18 giant pizzas at a time, management says it is one of the biggest pizza ovens in South Africa, possibly even Africa.
Parents will be happy to know their kids can still create their own pizzas, with a base and toppings brought to the table.
And, as part of the celebrations around the new look, Leonardo’s is running an drawing competition in partnership with Coca-Cola over the next two months.
Children under the age of 12 are given pages to colour in, and the winning young artist will receive a gift hamper.