Linden is recently coming back to life in a most exciting way. There are all sorts of coffee shops and restaurants, studios and creative businesses popping up. A most lovely newish addition is Angelo’s Deli in 4th Avenue, next to the Engen garage.
The deli opened last November, fulfilling a long-held dream of proprietor Angelo Aquilano. Angelo studied architecture, which is evident in the clean lines and beautiful design of the shop. He and his father hand-made many of the features, like the beautiful wooden countertops, and did most of the handy work themselves. When you enter the shop, it feels like a family-run business.
While Angelo grew up in Johannesburg, he spent a lot of time at the family home in the mountain village of Scanno, about an hour from Rome. There he learned to cook at his Nonna’s knee and absorbed much Italian culture and language. The dishes on his menu are authentic Italian meals, made from tried and tested recipes. And the meals are delicious. In winter, I love to have Flavia’s soup, served with delicious sourdough pot bread. If it’s warmer, I like the antipasto, a delicious combination of deli meats and cheeses. The meatball sandwich and pistachio pesto pasta are also firm favourites. Of course, there are wonderful meats and cheeses and pastas and other delicious treats for sale to take away, as well as ready-made pasta sauces and panettones.
Angelo and his staff regularly bake cakes and biscuits in the deli. We love the cat’s tongues (“Lingue di Gatto” sounds so much more inviting!), ravani (a traditional Greek yogurt and semolina cake) and the lemon curd and polenta cake (Angelo’s nonna’s recipe). And the coffees are really brilliant. For now, their liquor licence is pending, but they don’t mind opening your wine for you if you’re eating a full meal there.
Last Friday evening, to welcome in the winter and shake people out of their winter blues, the wonderful poet Ruth Everson delighted patrons at Angelo’s with a reading of some of her poems. Ruth is insightful and inspiring and her poetry offers really gorgeous views on a world which might otherwise pass us by. She invited us all to be brave and to wake up and live life. I adore her poetry, some of which is available in her anthology “Landscapes of Courage”, which I’m sure you could get hold of if you get in touch with her on @RuthEleanorE on twitter. Check out her blog at http://ruthsreallife.blogspot.com. What I loved about the evening was that the intimacy of the venue combined with the intimacy of the poetry, which evoked an opening up and engagement between all sorts of people who might otherwise never have spoken.
I love going to Angelo’s Deli. It’s a place with such warmth, and such potential as a venue for events. I’m planning my first book launch there (just need to get that pesky book out of my head!), and Angelo is already displaying some interesting lego art work by Hendrik Smit, owner and designer of Toy Boy Designs. I think Toy Boy’s jewellery is pretty awesome too. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Toyboy-designs/224383597603280?ref=br_rs
POST SCRIPT – Sadly, Angelo closed his doors late last year. He’d tried his hand at restaurant owning, and found that it didn’t offer him the challenges his architect-brain enjoyed (and that those whinging customers who are supposed to be right all the time even when they just whinge all the time were too much to take) and so he’s turned back to design. I’m sure we’ll have some updates soon. Gravity Café now occupies the space in Linden. I haven’t tried it yet.