Homegrown chef Andrew Michael has opened his new trattoria with the goal of bringing authentic Italian cooking back to West End.
Spaghetti House opened in November last year and has already proven to be a hit with locals and pasta lovers alike. With his dream of creating a restaurant without unnecessary frills or an excessive price tag, Andrew Michael has succeeded in creating a homely and vibrant space. Spaghetti house is a place, as he describes it, where:
Everyone gets to sit down in a family atmosphere and meet each other with bowls of pasta in the middle; that’s the feel that we get here. It feels like having a homecooked meal, a bit loud but fun Andrew has already established himself in the community as the owner of Char Char Yiros, two doors down from Spaghetti House.
The restaurateur was born in Highgate Hill and first learned to cook as a young apprentice of 17 years at the West End Greek Club. Andrew has been cooking since before he can remember. “I was trying to work it out the other day because one of my dishes that I make is the funghi scallopphine. And I am pretty sure I have made it since I was nine years old for my parents, for dinner. And I’m still cooking it now and people love it. I’ve just always loved cooking.”
Having grown up in West End, Andrew has witnessed how the suburb has changed over the years. “I’ve seen it evolve from where it was. I mean, it was the little Greek town back then, when I was a kid.”
Even though West End has changed since then, Michael still feels a strong connection to the area, “especially when I see old guys walking down the street and I remember them from when they were my age or younger and they were holding their kids’ hands, and now those kids are my age or older. It’s nice to see the same people after 35 years; it’s great.”
Andrew uses fresh ingredients and his menu frequently features seasonal products. “Figs are right at the end of the season so I have been running figs for a few months now. We get fig pizzas, figs wrapped in prosciutto. Now is the beginning of the artichoke season, so I am starting artichokes. Traditional stuffed artichokes.”
The Spaghetti House is an all-round Italian experience, with a great range of dishes on offer, a wine list that boasts an impressive collection of Italian wines and two walls of rotating specials. The restaurant has proved so popular, it is doing two and a half settings a night. “It’s really taken off; it’s great,” said Andrew. So if you are looking for an authentic Italian experience at a great price, booking ahead is essential. Michael recommends the specialty dish of saffron linguine with scampi and seafood bisque sauce.
Words by Chelsea Heaney | Images by Gillian van Niekerk