A mother’s touch – Lapo’s Kitchen



Lapo Magni is a Chef, who opens he’s home in Observatory Cape Town, and he’s kitchen once a month to prepare the most delicious and authentic meals around. The group generally range around 25 patrons comfortably.

I use the word patron very loosely as very quickly one comes to realise that many of these visitors are not here for the first time and are akin to a proverbial cult following. I met a young lady who hastily told me that last year she never missed a single dinner at Lapo’s!

 It’s really not hard to understand why; Lapo is enigmatic, warm and charming, always at the ready to engage the room with a tale or two about the evening’s offerings, its origins and history.

Lapo prides himself on intimately knowing and understanding the origins of most, if not all, of the ingredients he serves, ensuring that the vegetables are organic or that the meat used is  from an ethical source, I have visions of the delicious wild boar sourced locally that I enjoyed on my last visit.

On this visit to Lapo’s, he’s Mom was the resident Chef for the evening. And it really is something else to be served Italian food, made by Italians as they would make it at home.

  • Our First course was a courgette or zucchini flan on a rich and creamy sauce made entirely from cannellini beans. A delicious start to the evening.
  • The next course was the, get this, Lettuce Risotto which was my favourite for the evening. I know, reading this you are thinking how or better yet why would anyone want to put lettuce leaves in Risotto. Well, the explanation is rather simplistic. Like any mother will tell you, getting your kids to eat vegetable is at the best of times an arduous task Lapo’s mother came up with this simple and nutritious recipe to solve this conundrum. Lettuce leaves are after all filled with nutrients. I just think it’s yummy.
  • Now, the next course posed somewhat of a challenge for me. It was a staple in my household and over the years there were numerous changes to this recipe, in an attempt to somehow change its appeal .It never happened, and I tried to no avail to convince my mom that I was, in my mind, in fact allergic to meatloaf. Nevertheless this meatloaf was a welcome surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was served with peas and a delicious mash; each tasty morsel hungrily devoured.
  • The evening was sealed with a delicious Tiramisu, one of my favourite deserts served with berries

An evening at Lapo’s is a must do, It really is way more than just a dining experience and I would venture to virtually guarantee that you will be back. A more humble, hospitable and charismatic host you will not find. Not only does Lapo open up he’s home and he’s kitchen, but also he’s heart. The entire experience feels like sitting around the table with old friends, enjoying a glass of wine.  Can’t wait to go back!

Thank you to Mario Arendse for contributing to the article

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