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Body Language with local artist Percy Manyonga and delicious pizza at Sorella’s

Antipasto at Sorella’s Pizzeria and Cafe

THE government giveth and the government taketh away. Having increased fuel prices to unrealistic levels (more expensive to drive here than in Hong Kong or Monaco), our main roads are now clear of multi-vehicle fuel queues; but the resulting evaporation of disposable income has reduced many of us to the status of paupers.
Hours spent looking for diesel, however, needn’t always force you into a self-induced coma — make new acquaintances in other vehicles, research ways to make claims for pothole damage to your vehicle, or glance to the left and right and check out the hood.
I was doing time in a fuel queue in Rolf Avenue some weeks ago, when I saw a sign advertising Sorella’s (meaning Sisters) Pizzeria & Cafe.
Tucked away between a service station and a large structure formerly known as Rolf Valley Gym, you might miss Sorella’s if you blinked.
The exterior is unassuming, but once inside, the atmosphere is welcoming and friendly and the pizza oven is firing on all cylinders.
Tables and chairs are rustic but comfortable, and the decor minimalist.
This might have been a remote hunting lodge on a mountain slope outside Florence, were it not for the constant flow of lunch time patrons. Hands on owners Gemma and Chiara Faccio have been serving up pizza and other delights here, for the last six years.
We ordered Antipasto ($20) for two people, and watched as Silwood School of Cookery-trained Gemma assembled a mouth-watering selection of black olives, artichoke hearts, thinly sliced pepperoni, bright red peppadews, fresh green rocket and crisp foccaccia (garlic flat bread).
Parma ham, that should have been the hero of the platter, had, owing to temporary shortages, been replaced by crisp fried bacon. As much as I love to eat bacon and egg and bacon and avo sarnies, fried bacon on an antipasto platter doesn’t do it for me.
There’s a pizza to suit every taste at Sorella’s. From the list of traditional Italian pizzas we chose Spinach and Feta with sun dried tomatoes topped with mozzarella cheese ($18). There’s nothing to hide in an open plan kitchen, and we watched the dexterous pizza chef James roll out a perfect thin crust pizza base, pile it up with quality toppings, and slide it into the 450 degree Celsius oven.
Straight from the pizza oven to our table, the result was delicious.
A list of ‘pizzas of the world’ offers a bewildering variety of menu choices, ranging from biltong to Thai chicken and Indian. A Mexican option combines garlic beef fillet with chilli, cheese and red pepper salsa. These were popular with groups of students from nearby St John’s College, while ladies at a nearby table had ordered an array of ‘super’ salads to enjoy with several bottles of chilled white wine.
Sorella’s doesn’t have a liquor licence, but they make it easy for patrons to bring their own, as they don’t charge corkage.
While you’re deciding what to order for dessert, look into the Corridor Art Gallery at Sorella’s, and check out Percy Manyonga’s clever and humorous Body Language exhibition, running until the end of February. One of Zimbabwe’s leading artists, Percy Manyonga currently has paintings on exhibition at the prestigious Zeitz Mocaa Museum of Contemporary Art Africa at Cape Town’s Waterfront.
So it was exciting to come across his light hearted solo exhibition of people drawn from life. Engaged in everyday activities, his subjects tell us more about themselves by their body language than they could in conversation. A series illustrating different diners having a great time at Sorella’s, suggest that Manyonga and friends will have also spent happy hours dining at the pizzeria.
Choices for dolci della casa (desserts) were limited to chocolate brownies, cheesecake and muffins. We each had an excellent espresso coffee ($3) and shared a very rich double chocolate brownie (also $3). Sorella’s could be a good choice for couples to celebrate Valentine’s day this year. Tables are well-spaced, and it’s impossible to overhear next door conversations. Gemma and Chiara might consider adding sweetheart cupcakes to the dessert menu, as an added attraction.
Until such time as the snaking fuel queue once again raises its ugly head, I’ll be eating the occasional pizza at Sorella’s, while working on my booklet of guidelines to making claims for pothole damage to personal vehicles.

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