Last week saw the official launch of Old Town Italy in Umhlanga taking place and I was one of the fortunate few to be on the guest list. Unlike most official openings, it wasn't just the who's who of town that attended but rather loyal clientele of the owners other establishments and members of the media. Not knowing much about the place, I was curious to see what it was all about as the other establishments that are in their group are all popular Durban landmarks, that is, Remos Fratelli and the Dutch.
Even though it was the launch party, the opening of Old Town Italy took place a few weeks before that and with that brought about quite a few mixed reviews about the place but I not the person that takes other peoples words for granted until I check the place out myself.
Firstly, what is Old Town Italy? Its a Deli, Cafe and Speciality food shop, well that's what it said on the sign but after visiting, it is so much more! The man behind the vision of the place, Renzo Scribante, put it nicely into context during his opening speech. It's a place for people to come, shop for good quality products, most of which are imported from Italy while getting that friendly service as we've become accustomed to at their establishments and enjoy the experience with their vast amount of items on offer. You truly can get lost in the selections on offer.
The place is split up into many different sections with the Cafe greeting you as you enter, ample seating inside and outside for patrons with a host of beverages on offer...besides Coke but who needs that when you have a variety of Italian craft beers and wine on offer? I didn't get a chance to see what the Cafe had to offer in terms of a food menu but they're anything like the light snacks that were on offer during the launch then it gets two thumbs up from me!
The store sends you on a magical journey, I make it sound like a fairy tale but it essentially does, every part is themed so brilliantly, from the bakery, to the deli and the Gelato stand that's adjacent to the front door. The butchery has the freshest meats, all grass fed, prime cuts on offer. The Deli has some of the finest cheeses and cold meat selections which classic Italian favourites on offer. The bakery is what steals the show for me though, a vast selection breads, from dough to baguettes, pizza's to foccias all of which look, smell and taste devine.
Moving over to the sweet side of the bakery, is what many would describe as heaven. Croissant's, tarts and confectionery for dayz! The infamous nutella filled mini doughnuts were on offer for the night, couldn't resist having one...a few... a lot.
With the big crowd in attendence it was hard to get a good view of the place as whole but visited the various areas gave you an indication what the place is about and seeing what was on offer really makes the place something different to what we are used to. It's like someone said at the launch, wives tell their husbands that they going for shopping and disappear for 2 to 3 hours but when men make a dash down to the store for bread and milk, its a 15 minute trip, but with Old Town Italy now open, they can get the bread and the milk, enjoy a beverage, have a chat to the butcher, the baker, sample some of the good food on offer then head back home after 2 hours. It only seems fair right?
Address: 39 Meridian Park, Meridian Drive, Umhlanga
Contact No: 031 566 5008
Facebook: Old Town Italy