The Karoo Heartland village of Nieu-Bethesda is weird and quirky, but in a nice way. It has a lot of interesting nooks and crannies which include a couple of fascinating attractions, authentic Nieu-Bethesdian accommodation and slightly off the regular type of mainstream restaurants and eateries. When you pass a little restaurant with a sign saying Bruno’s Alfresco Pizzeria with the added tagline of “World Famous in Nieu-Bethesda… then you know you want to check it out. It also helps that I really love pizza.
So the quirkiness of Bruno’s start with the fact that they are only open on a Friday evening. At first I was surprised but then I understood why. Nieu-Bethesda isn’t the busiest of villages and there are a number of spots to eat at so they avoid being empty most nights and became the Friday night hangout. Bruno’s really is as authentic Southern Italian as you will get and with the eccentric Italian Swiss chef and owner Brunno at the wheel you, you are assured of the best thin based pizza in town. World Famous, in Nieu-Bethesda.
As we were a decent sized group in town for a meeting the Monday morning, a special request to open on the Sunday night for us was granted and I was glad it was. Not a lot of pizza places around where you can stand at the kitchen chatting to the cooks preparing the pizza or where you can peek into the pizza oven just before sticking your camera halfway in just to be shoo’d away because it’s time to take the pizzas out. No well drilled conveyor belt from a fast food pizza joint in the city. No, local ladies making the pizza just the way they were trained by Bruno. Mine was delectable. Their special for the night, Kudu Salami Pizza. Highly recommendable if you are in town.
But, and this is a big but and I can’t deny, that wasn’t all. Bruno had a surprise up his sleeve. I heard rumours of a secret underground wine cellar. Just stories or the truth? I was told to ask Bruno himself, so I did. He chuckled and there was a glint in his eye. Yeah! Let’s go. The wine cellar isn’t just a regular spot to store wine. It literally is an underground space that feels like it’s straight from a movie set. Bruno had it built as a wine cellar but after a flood filled it up with water a few years ago he hasn’t really kept wine down there. He did show us a little something standing around the one corner and we got to taste the fruits of this little something afterwards. Or rather what came from the fruits that went in there. I can understand why he doesn’t sell it. It’s a special little something for special visitors and we were special. We got to see his wine cellar on a personal tour after all.