Previously a fishing hamlet, Woodstock has always been an area with a mixed community. It was a grey area which fell outside the implementation of the Group Areas Act, according to Andrew Fleming in Making a Place for the Rich? Urban Poor Evictions and Gentrification in Woodstock, 2011.
Woodstock was not part of the racially-motivated removals that took place during the apartheid era. In 1986 when there was a call for government to declare Woodstock as a “coloured area”, a petition was signed to oppose attempts to remove white residents from the suburb. The plan was eventually dropped and Woodstock’s mixed residents kept on living happily together.
Today, however, Woodstock is under threat because of rising prices which are forcing many residents to leave. Since the opening of the Biscuit Mill with new businesses owned by people from outside Woodstock and wealthy people buying property, rents have gone up and many locals are forced to move to other areas which are more affordable.
This is a long story to introduce the restaurant where we had another Friday lunch. Deon had to change a light fitting at a lighting factory in Woodstock and we got lost (as always when we have to visit this lighting factory). Earlier in 2015 we parked the car and wandered up and down Albert Road, taking photographs and browsing through the interesting shops. Today, however, I thought that we have found the real Woodstock, as we were in an area we have never been before. There were lots of sold signs in front of properties, clearly destined for renovation. We were driving up and down the lanes, trying to find our way, admiring the beautiful old homes, when I spotted a restaurant between other fine buildings. I had the feeling that this was the perfect restaurant for our Friday lunch.
The restaurant, Pesce Azzurro, meaning blue fish, painted in beautiful blue and white, looked very inviting from the outside. Through the large windows we saw that the restaurant was almost full. Fortunately they had a table for us. We found ourselves in a proper Italian restaurant with Italian restaurateurs.
The food, the friendly service, the hearty interior, the chatting patrons, the Italian chef, the beautiful crockery were all part of the real Italian experience we had. A beautiful sheep dog, part of the decor, stole my heart. The chefs sitting at a table for a quick meal of pasta with roasted tomatoes, olive oil and parmesan cheese, explained without saying a word that a perfect meal was exactly that what they were having.
Deon ordered line fish in a tomato and olive sauce and I had pasta Pomodoro, which is a simple dish of pasta with tomato, garlic and parmesan cheese. Both our meals were superb. We shared tiramisu for dessert, which was pure Italian heaven.
We fell in love with Woodstock. To live in this cosmopolitan area, would be wonderful. It is sad that there are locals who cannot afford to live there any longer. How sad for them to have to leave this magnificent cosmopolitan area where they have been living for years.