DesBrisay Dines

WEEKLY LUNCH PICK: Head to Stoneface Dolly’s for traditional South African fare in the heart of Little Italy

The Place: When Stoneface Dolly’s picked up and moved to larger digs a few years ago, most of the restaurant’s fans followed. And though neighbourhood regulars lamented the move from Bronson (the building is now occupied by Jak’s Kitchen), it was definitely the right decision. Now Stoneface Dolly’s is bustling and airy rather than bustling and cramped. And a spot on Preston Street has led to a whole new audience for Dolly’s homestyle cooking with a touch of South African inspiration.

Tofu Babotie from Stoneface Dolly's.

The Lunch: I’ll admit I had no idea what it was going to be when I ordered the tofu babotie. The writeup is  vague, noting only that it’s a traditional South African recipe: “Spiced ground tofu pie topped with banana and yogurt raita and fruit chutney.” But I’ve never been disappointed at Stoneface Dolly’s. I already know the burgers and sandwiches are fab. Why not try a true South African specialty? Two words: so good. But definitely a visual surprise. Instead of a traditional flaky crust pie with spicy ground tofu within, turns out the “pie” part of the equation is actually white bread, soaked in milk and mashed up with the tofu, light curry spices, and raisins. A portion of babotie is more of a bowl of curry than a pie — and a welcome change from soup and sandwich for lunch. On the side, crispy yam chips and a small salad of baby greens.

The cost: $12

Hours: Open Monday to Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Stoneface Dolly’s, 416 Preston St., 613-564-2222,