Adventures of Bee and Moe recently visited Hello Tomato situated in Bryanston, Riverside Shopping Centre. This was our first time visiting Hello Tomato so we were excited to see what delicious dishes they have to offer.
Hello Tomato is a concept conceived in Italy and inspired by New York, the wall’s in the restaurant are even tiled in the exact same sequence and the same tiles as the actual New York Subway. Hello Tomato is a unique brand specialising in authentic Italian pizza and pasta, following age old Italian methods, don’t get us wrong Hello Tomato might be using age old Italian methods but the toppings and creative combinations are very modern and uniquely South African.
For starters there’s a choice of three types of chicken strips and four salad options, we opted for the ‘Bangcock Strips’ which is chicken strips coated in Asian Panko crumb and sesame seeds served with a sweet plum dipping sauce. We are not really fans of having a salad as a starter but the salads sounded so good and were very tempting.
When our starter arrived we couldn’t wait to dig in! The chicken was deliciously crispy and crunchy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside, I don’t know about you but I love food that has a combination of crunch and softness and that I can dip into sauces, the different textures and flavours is like a party in my mouth. The plum sauce had a very nice sweet and salty flavour to it, it reminded us of bor that we use to eat a kids (bor is a Chinese or Indian plum soaked in a syrup). The plum sauce pairs so well with the chicken strips and gives it a different dimension of flavour compared to having it on its own (which is also quite delicious).
We were spoilt for choice with the delicious unique pizza toppings and pastas. Hello Tomato has a variety of pizza toppings to choose from. From the O.T.F ‘Old Time Favourites’ which are the usual toppings to the A.O.H.T ‘All Out Hello Tomato’ which are unique toppings such as the ‘Marrakesh’ which is slow cooked beef shin, Moroccan Harissa paste, caramelised onion, red pepper and flaked almonds. The Marrakesh was one of our choices although we opted for something different we will be going back to try it. Their last set of pizza toppings options is the F.A.B ‘Feta, avo, bacon’ these can be added onto any of the pizzas.
Moe and I decided on three pizzas and three pasta’s that stood out for us and then asked the owner what he recommends from our six choices. We went with his recommendation and ordered a pizza and a pasta to share.
We ordered ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ which is slow cooked lamb, caramelised onion, garlic, rosemary and mint sauce. These flavours work so well together and is typical of Mediterranean style cooking. I won’t lie the name of this dish got to me a little I felt like I had stolen Mary’s little lamb and eaten it, which was delicious though.
When the pizza arrived we were drooling over it and couldn’t wait to have that first bite. The pizza is thin based but was not soggy from the toppings and held it well. What I love is that the lamb was evenly spread throughout the pizza so there weren’t any slices that did not have enough toppings on it, each one had an equal amount of tantalising goodness. The shredded lamb was so soft and tender and easy to eat (no chewiness), the sweet and sour taste of the tomato from the base of the pizza came through which works so well with the Turkish flavours of the pizza toppings. To be honest I didn’t get much of the mint flavour but the caramelised onions works so well with the deliciously seasoned lamb, I love the combination of the sweet, sour and salty flavours playing around in my mouth. The crust of the pizza was nice and crunchy and didn’t feel dry, and wasn’t too thick and difficult to eat which I find with most pizzas.
Like the pizza’s the pasta’s also come in a wide variety the O.T.F, A.O.H.T and Pasta Bakes. Our first choice was the ‘Oh So Bucco!!’ Which is 8 hour cooked beef shin, red wine and tomato ragu, topped with fresh parsley and lemon rind which sounds divine and definitely a dish we will be going back to try (it was so difficult to pick just one dish as all sound so yummy). We decide to try one of the Baked Pasta’s instead ‘Bring-Home-The-Bacon’ but more like chicken as both of us don’t eat pork, the owner was more than happy to leave out the bacon and add extra chicken and mushrooms. Bring-Home-The-“Chicken” is a creamy Napolitana sauce with mushroom and chicken pieces.
When the pasta arrived I got full just looking at the serving size. The pasta was topped with hot heavenly melting cheese (there’s just something about melting cheese #foodporn). Firstly what I noticed about the pasta was the size of the penne, the penne is bigger than normal just one is big enough to fit into my mouth! The penne was al dente and could hold the scrumptious sauce well without getting soggy. The sauce was creamy with flavourful tender chicken pieces and mushrooms smothered in it.
Each bite was like heaven so warm and comforting and even though I was full after a couple of bites I couldn’t help but eat more that’s how good it is!
The serving sizes are quite big we had enough leftovers for the night which filled us up again. Even though we reheated our leftovers as per the instructions the pizza and pasta tasted just as divine as it had at the restaurant, the flavours were still there and so was the texture.
The food was absolutely enjoyable and very filling. What really stood out for us was the creative names of each dish like: Popeyes Pick, Holy Shittake, Chick Norris and Gnocchi’n on Heavens Door just to name a few.
Hello Tomato has the best dessert you could ever think off, imagine a Frozen Custard dessert. That’s right Frozen Custard! A dense, rich and creamy taste experience. You could either have the delicious Frozen Custard on its own or you could have a selection of Frozen Custard Concretes, with chunky mix-ins of Oreo cookies, flaked chocolate (this is called the Choc O.D), banana or peanut brittle blended with a decadent fudge (Banana Banana), chocolate hazelnut, Tiramisu or caramel infused sauce (Tiramisooo!).
We were lucky enough to try both the original Frozen Custard and the Frozen Custard Concrete ‘Choc O.D’. The original vanilla Frozen Custard has a beautiful soft creamy texture and is smooth on the palate (this works great as a palate cleanser) with its delectable vanilla flavour. It is unlike anything else we have ever tasted, think rich creamy vanilla ice-cream with a smooth yogurt texture.
The Frozen Custard Concrete ‘Choc O.D’ is the same delicious vanilla flavoured custard with chunky pieces of Oreo cookies, flake chocolate (even half a flake dipped into it) with a chocolate hazelnut sauce. This was sooo good and definitely a chocolate overdose, you get the smoothness of the custard followed by chunky pieces of Oreo and flake chocolate and lastly the hazelnut sauce lingers in the mouth (love the different textures), it’s a creamy-chocolatey-nutty sensation dancing around in your mouth.
The Frozen Custard is the first in South Africa and exclusive to Hello Tomato, this dessert is something that everyone needs to try.
In true Italian style Hello Tomato shares in the culture of eating together. Hello Tomato took this concept and decided to give you extra compared to anywhere else, providing a ‘standard’ size option which is more than enough for one person or to share, if you’re eating alone you will definitely have enough leftovers for later and the hearty ‘company’ option will comfortably feed 4 people.
Me being half Italian and both of us lovers of food we highly recommend eating at Hello Tomato for an authentic Italian experience with a South African twist.
You can find Hello Tomato in three locations:
- Riverside Shopping Centre
- Mall Of Africa, and
- Kyalami Corner Shopping Centre