The Federal Turns Into La Stalla

The Federal in Melville is getting a facelift… in fact, it’s getting a compete makeover. Chef James Diack will be renaming his Seventh Street eatery as La Stalla “The Stables” and reopening it as a rustic pizzeria in late March 2018.

Chef James Diack, on a recent trip to Brightside Farm to give members of the media a tour around the farm and some insight into his plans for 2018. “Since we opened in Melville in September 2016, we’ve noticed a change in what people are eating, and what they’re spending. And, in today’s fast-moving restaurant industry we have to adapt,” explains James. “We’ve also seen how successful the food and environment at Il Contadino in Parktown North has been, and so we’re going to make La Stalla a mini version of that.”

The industrial-chic pizzeria will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 07h00 until 10h00 and serve three meals a day. For lovers of The Federal’s brunch – don’t despair – a range of farm-fresh breakfasts will be available for R75 each. For lunch and dinner La Stalla guests can choose from a selection of well-priced small plates, a number of wood-fired dishes and pizza options, roasted chicken and fresh salads. Dessert will be gelato, served in cones or bowls.

Two of the farm-fresh dishes that will be available from La Stalla – bruschetta with a variety of toppings, and arancini stuffed and dusted with wild-boar bacon. James will be working in partnership with Il Contadino’s Head Chef, Rausharn Griffin to operate and manage the establishment. Rausharn has worked alongside James since 2014, first at Coobs and later heading up the team at Il Contadino.

Rausharn Griffin chats to members of the media while preparing some of the dishes to be served at La Stalla during a recent visit to Brightside Farm. Along with having a pizza oven installed into the space, James is also updating the façade and some of the décor – the trademark reclaimed wood-panelled wall and copper-piping will remain.

For drinks, expect OC Brewery craft beer, a wine list featuring some quirky and affordable boutique wines and some interesting cocktails – spending time with James Diack you will soon realise that he is passionate about wine (just have a look at our interview with James). “This will be my simplest restaurant to date, and I can’t wait to share the experience with Rausharn, and with Melville,” James concludes. With his almost 100% sustainability record, James remains the pioneer of provenance in South Africa and a serious purveyor of farm-to-table deliciousness.

By Shawn Greyling

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