As we about to ring in 2018, everyone is reflecting on the year that’s passed, resolutions and goals we have or have not achieved…
For us at JAR Photography for the most part it’s been a year off exploration, exploring new places, experiences, growing our team, making the circle bigger. 🙂
This year we had many high points and also some very low points. We had restaurants which blow our socks and ones we didn’t even want to enter; we did though and were pleasantly surprised.
This year we wanted to make a difference and increase social responsibility in our inner circle and we successfully did this with our Old Skool Party. The response was overwhelming and we can’t wait to see the faces of the kids at Leliebloem Children’s Home & Youth Centre when we do the handover of all their back to school goodies in the New Year.
So amongst our contributors we have compiled a list of our favourites and misses from the past year.
Winner of the Best Restaurant in Cape Town during Restaurant Week Autumn Edition 2017.
Unlike those that wish they could go back in time and erase the feeling of eating at their favourite restaurant so they can enjoy it again, I was very fortunate to experience Reuben’s at the One & Only Hotel for the first time for the Sunday.
RESTAURANT WEEK 2017
CAULIFLOWER AND PARMESAN VELOUTЀ
Light cauliflower and parmesan velouté with cauliflower textures and smoked raisin purée
ROAST PORK RACK
Roast pork rack with pomme anna, blackberry gel and pork jus
MOJO PICON CHICKEN
Char-grilled chicken skewers served with mojo picon sauce
The beginning portion of this review might not be as sound as I was momentarily dazzled by the ambiance and splendour of the restaurant upon arrival. It felt surreal to realise that I was dining at the very same restaurant as many of the South African greats, especially on the occasion of restaurant week.
We started off the extensive menu with a cauliflower and parmesan veloute – a thick and creamy cauliflower soup with the punch off parmesan in the after each bite. It was accompanied by a raisin puree that cut the creaminess so that it was not too overpowering.
The roast pork rack was the alternative starter. Served with a blackberry gel and pork jus, some sweetness was added to the otherwise smoky flavours of the pork rack. Just unfortunate with starter portion sizes, that this delicious rack was gone in a few bites.
For the main course, I indulged in a healthy 220g portion of chalmar sirloin. The sirloin was cooked perfectly to my taste (although it is not my favourite cut) and the accompanying parmesan fries and horseradish dip turned the regular pub ‘steak and chips” into an upmarket bistro dish.
Alternatively there was coconut red chicken curry. The Thai-style dish was a bit heavy handed with the coconut milk but did manage to transport the eater to East Asia with its spice infusion.
For dessert, the star here was the hot chocolate pudding. The rendition of a chocolate volcano with ice-cream was elevated with black forest biscotti and black sesame croquant. The chocolate cake itself was gooey and melted in the mouth and the vanilla ice-cream was rich in flavour and the perfect partner to the cake.
Tiramisu was also on the menu for dessert. This tiramisu as non-traditional in that it was a deconstructed tiramisu and sponge cake was dipped in liquor instead of biscuits. Notwithstanding, the flavours were rich and pungent – the coffee strong and the liquor sharp and in the end, it all balanced out well.
It is both unfortunate and fortunate that at the end of this experience, I am one of those people that wish to rewind time to retry Reuben’s. The local celebrity chef for wish the restaurant was named has certainly given the Cape Town cuisine scene a jewel for all the senses. Reuben’s certainly was the perfect end to Restaurant Week 2017.
I was looking forward to this experience at Sevruga, as it is not every day one can enjoy a menu prepared Michelin Star Chef RIKKU Ó’DONNCHÜ, who has worked with such renowned chefs as Marco Pierre White.
Trying to get a booking proved to be a bit of a challenge. It took an entire day of texting before it was finally confirmed. Understandably, the chef had other commitments so he is not always available, maybe allow yourself some lead time to ensure you are not disappointed if you are interested in booking.
The venue is stylish and modern and the service was excellent. The 5 Course Taster Menu was as follows
This course consisted of scallops, miso, salted cucumber, chilli and roe, beautifully plated.
The scallops were Wow! so fresh, you could almost taste the ocean. The chili combined with the saltiness was lovely and refreshing.
The next course was Chocolate Venison tartare, smoked quail eggs, parmesan, sesame seeds and coriander oil. I was surprised by this course as I expected the gaminess of the venison to dominate but it was lovely and silky, maybe attributable to the influence of the dark chocolate. This was my favourite and again aesthetically a beautiful plate.
Swordfish ceviche wasabi gel pomegranate and charcoal emulsion. This course was such a surprise, sometimes one gets the feeling that culinary boundaries are pushed purely for the sake of trying to be innovative or clever, sometimes even at the expense of the dish. However, the charcoal emulsion in this course proved to be a revelation adding a different, smoky dimension to this ceviche. The texture wasn’t at all invasive or gritty as I had anticipated.
Roast sirloin, pear, and blue cheese, butternut, balsamic and nuts. This “umami” or savoury course reminded me of one of my favourite treats and I loved the combinations. If I had to criticise, the chef would later explain, it would be that there was remanent of a paprika rub that was fiery strong on the sirloin which tarnished this course somewhat for me. The combination worked so well though.
Yogurt baked custard, chocolate, raspberry, white chocolate, mint oil and dehydrated mint leaves. This course was amazing, sometimes the dessert course is treated as an afterthought and doesn’t necessarily receive the same care and attention as its predecessors, bit I can assure you this most certainly was not the case. It was fresh and fruity and tart as a result of the dehydrated raspberry powder. I’m not one for sweet desserts so I really enjoyed this course tremendously. The raspberry powder is the best thing since sliced bread as far as I’m concerned.
In conclusion, I sometimes get the sense that there is a very fine line between the delivery of culinary artistic wizardry and quite frankly just being gimmicky. In this case one could easily be excused for running out of superlatives in describing just how good this meal was overall. It was fresh, carefully thought out and sophisticated and definitely worth the effort.
By Mario Arendse
So myself and Jason also booked for the same experience also on a Monday evening with very a very different experience. I won’t go into too much detail about our experience but I will say that there needs to be consistency. Every dinner no matter which they are needs to be treated the same and this certainly wasn’t the case. We were promised by the hostess that management would be in contact by to date nothing. We have been to Sevruga before and had never experienced anything like we had previously,so we sincerely hope it was their off night,but we will certainly not be back. In saying that we therefore had Mario & Leatitia book the same experience as us,but with a very different ending…
So to all restaurants, hosts & hostesses a word of advice treat all patrons the same, you never know who you might be serving.
Ash Restaurant is situated in Church street area surrounded by some of the finest eateries in the CBD. I enjoy all things char grilled, so I was curious to see what was to be on offer.
The starters are Tapas –style, which I quite enjoy, and is composed of an array of hot and cold dishes to choose from.
We decided on the
Hay Smoked Trout with Buttermilk Rye, Roe, Mustard seeds and Smoked Cream Cheese.
Octopus with Lemon Atchar, Fennel, Coriander and Pineapple which was absolutely amazing…fresh and tangy.
Cheese croquettes with Burnt Onion and Chives, which was a lovely combination.
Pork belly, cider, apple sauce and puffed potato.
Then there was Grilled Broccoli with Almonds, Beans and Mint.
Tom yum mussels with ginger and spring onion. This portion was massive and can easy be shared
The tapas can easily be shared, if you maybe just want something to nibble on while you have a drink, as the portions were generous. I did find some inconsistency though where some portions was bigger than others comparatively.
The mains were:
Dry aged beef, I chose the 300g Rib eye Steak, which I was a little disappointed with, as I thought it was quite average, I chose the side salad which was really good and again easily shared at our table. It was made up of lettuce, parmesan shavings, gorgonzola, walnut and pear.
Then there was the Cured Hake, with cauliflower, pine nuts, elderflower and cream
Next was the Slow Cooked Brisket, beetroot, Nut Dukkha and smoked curds
The dessert course was interesting and adventurous to say the least:
There are the Madeleines, freshly prepared while you wait; these I must confess were the best I’ve had.
I had the popcorn and chocolate parfait with sour crème which was ok, not great though.
Next was the Ash version of a Banana Split. Purists give this a miss, as it is not what you think it is. Grilled banana with roasted coconut and coconut ice cream. Definitely not what I had in mind during my mental flashback to the 80’s.
Lastly was dessert that received the most attention, Bread pudding, which was made with Sourdough bread, crispy bacon and bacon flavoured custard. Yip, that’s right bacon flavoured custard. I love bacon and I love custard but as a combination it didn’t work for me or anyone at our table for that matter.
I must say our table had a very mixed review on Ash; there were some really good elements like the starter courses which were fantastic, the main courses, maybe not as much.
What’s a way to spend a Saturday, it’s sunny and hot and there’s just the slightest breeze. Myoga is lush and green and can be found in Newlands at the Vineyard Hotel. You would never say you were in sprawling suburbia while sitting on the patio overlooking a dramatic backdrop of treetops and mountains.
The lunch menu really does leave one spoilt for choice, as there were 9 starter courses to choose from with prices ranging from R95-R195. But before I get into that, we were served the amouse-bouche or tickler which consisted of butternut and onion marmalade topped with a Catalan or Spanish custard made of pumpkin ginger and gruyere cheese topped with mushroom shortbread and elderflower…delicious!
something unique from the kitchen
Taco, Hot Smoked East Coast Hake, Avocado Mousse, Marinated Tomato,
Broken Massa Harina Taco, Radish, House Made Crème Fraiche, Coriander
Forest Phantom Crème, White Peach Sorbet, Radish And Peach Sweet
Pickle, Parmesan Crumble, Fruit Leather, Leek Ash, Beet Micro Greens.
For the starter course, there was:
Ceviche which consisted of farmed Red Drum Sea Bass (shipped from Mauritius), Soy Kombu, Wasabi Tobiko, Tigers milk ice cream and pickled jalapeno which was fantastic.
Then there was the Scotch egg, which was a combination of pork and prawn meat, pickles, potted shrimp and roasted tomato vinaigrette. I found the prawn and pork a little weird, but it was tasty.
Next was the Temple Bowl which consisted of freekeh, Ponzi beetroot, tempeh, roasted mushrooms, raw mushrooms and nasturtium top pesto with edamame dressing. Apparently freekeh is the new supergrain, which is highly nutritious a bit like Bulgar wheat.
Lastly there was Gyoza, which consisted of prawn and chicken, myoga xo sauce, apple celery and kohlrabi.
Before we got stuck into our main courses, there was the palate cleanser which consisted of Buchu lemonade with warm chai jelly.
For the main course our party chose:
Linefish with local sea vegetables, stuffed courgette flower and sauce au vin blanc which is really just adding a white wine reduction to a hollandaise sauce, which was superb I might add.
Then there was the duck (three ways) which consisted of Roasted duck breast, Confit leg croquettes, liver crème caramel, rhubarb, puffed grains with a gizzard and hibiscus jus. This course got a mixed review as there were some very good elements; the liver crème caramel wasn’t a firm favourite.
The beef tender cut was superb, slow cooked chuck with charred aubergine, roasted onion and sauce charcuterie. I’ve had beef fillet a few times recently and this course really gave a good account of itself, cooked to perfection.
Ostrich fillet which was grilled with dates, baharat spice glazed carrot, pickled rose, brik pastry and ostrich neck jus.
For Pre-dessert, a course soon to be a staple at my house, a lemon and orange Catalan (Spanish custard) with lemon marshmallow , orange preserve, vanilla shortbread and burnt sugar typical of crème brulee. I adore all things custard, so there was no need to convince me…excellent!
For Dessert, there was…
Chocolate parfait with Valrhona chocolate, choc chip cookie, fizzy blueberry, burnt chocolate, dried blueberry, chocolate fondant and blueberry pastille which was amazing, this course was definitely for the chocolate lovers.
Then there was the Strawberry Neat Mess with Mascarpone cheesecake, strawberry elastic, compressed strawberry, meringue, shortbread, strawberry sorbet with pectin jellies.
Lastly there was the Creamy Sago Pudding with passion fruit curd, passion fruit sorbet, grilled litchi, coconut crumble and dehydrated coconut. Not quite in the traditional mould, but I quite enjoyed it. The purists in our group disagreed with me, but I thought it was a good take on a classic South African dessert.
Overall a really enjoyable afternoon and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a beautiful summer’s day. The venue is perfect and the food was really good.