Nelson Mandela Square’s latest addition – Septimo Italian Market & Restaurant – comes to this country with an impressive pedigree. This chic establishment is the brainchild of Paul Lycos, a third-generation restauranteur, whose family has owned eateries in both France and the US.
Some of the dishes on the menu are those from Lycos’ childhood and which he describes as “Italian American cuisine that you would find in any restaurant in Little Italy in New York or South Street in Philadelphia.” They can be found on the nostalgia section of the Septimo menu and include chicken or aubergine parmigiana, ricotta lasagna, homemade ravioli with Napoli sauce and spaghetti and meatballs.
Signature dishes include pan-seared sea bass with crispy skin, blistered cherry tomatoes and citrus emulsion; grilled Mozambican prawns served with polenta cake and arrabiata sauce; wood fired whole baby chicken and a 350g, 45-day, dry-aged, grass-fed New York strip (sirloin) with a coffee and black pepper rub which is served with a delicious jus and thrice-fried parmesan black pepper chips.
For diners who want a more modern take on Italian food there are dishes such as chargrilled octopus, served with cannellini bean hummus and pickled onions; kale salad with crispy pancetta, apple, roasted pine nuts, croutons and a parmesan vinaigrette or crispy pork belly with creamy polenta and a passion fruit balsamic glaze.
The pizza from the wood fire oven have thin crusts and come with a variety of toppings from Margarita with fresh tomato, mozzarella and basil to Prostitutto with pancetta, fig and wild rocket.
For desserts opt for the limencello meringue; classic tiramisu; flourless chocolate torte or the salted caramel poached pears.
Well-known architect, David Borchardt used copper and stained concrete to craft an industrial-look-and-feel for the restaurant, with layers of wood to soften the room. Mike and Rita Collaro, from Collaro Design, added the furniture and fixtures, and the result is a space that’s both chic and inviting – perfect for a long, lazy lunch, smart intimate dinner or a spot of people-watching on the square.
Septimo is a multi-purpose space, with a restaurant and a more casual area for those who want to grab a coffee and biscotti as well as a deli and well-stocked and comfy bar.
The restaurant has a compact but interesting wine list with some imported wines. A few wines are available in 250ml and 500ml carafes. There is also a full bar and cocktails with seven signature cocktails to be released shortly.
Says Lycos: “With Septimo I wanted to create a space where people can do multiple things; it’s all about a lifestyle.”
The Septimo Story
Septimo is Italian for ‘seventh’ and represents the seventh decade of a tradition of preparing family recipes.
After World War 2, owner Paul Lycos’ French grandparents opened and ran two Parisian restaurants, L’Ideal Bar near the Champs-Élysées and La Comete near Montmartre, both of which exist to this day.
Their daughter Martine (Paul’s mother) emigrated to the United States, and it was while she was raising her young family that she, and her Greek husband Athanassios, decided to buy their own establishment Terry’s Italian Restaurant in Pennsylvania.
It had been run by Roberto and Teriza Mugione from 1951 to 1980 and when they sold they passed on all recipes to Paul’s parents who owned the restaurant from then until 2010.
Now their son, Paul, and his cousin Andreas Kaiafas, are continuing the tradition with the third instalment, bringing 70 years of flavours, family, and fun right here to you in the world-famous Nelson Mandela Square.
Who we are
The team behind Septimo include third generation restauranteur Paul Lycos and his cousin Andreas Kaiafas.
Heading up the kitchen is chef Nikita Zoulis. The menu has been kept small, concentrating on seasonal and sustainable produce. Most of the food can be traced directly back to the source, to the farm the meat came from, or the boat the fish was caught from.
Where and when to get us
Address: 31 Nelson Mandela Square, 139 West St, Sandown, Sandton
Telephone number: +27 11 077 7777
Open Monday to Friday 8am to 10pm
Saturday to Sunday 10am to 11pm