I have never really been one to splurge on very expensive food (R550 for the standard tasting menu and R950 with the wine pairing, before gratuity) so it was such a treat to get a voucher from friends to have this experience. As expected with a larger menu, comes a slightly longer write-up (so please bear with me).
Located in the the Dunkeld centre the exterior of the place is rather drab, to say the least. Once inside though the atmosphere is really lovely. There is a hotel feel to the reception area where we were greeted by friendly staff and quickly seated to get started with the evening. The decor is minimalistic but tasteful and the atmosphere made me feel very at ease .
This was my first time trying a tasting menu, which I thought would be 5 courses but once you include all the entree’s, you’re looking at 9 ‘dishes’ plus tea and coffee on the house. Having not opted for the wine pairing, I was disappointed to see that the wine menu is rather limited. It is also overpriced in my opinion, with a glass of wine starting at R65.
While we waited for our drinks to arrive we started with a bread and butter platter which included salted caramel butter. We then kicked off with our first starter Wagyu sirloin crudo (carpaccio) topped with horse raddish, pickled beets, carrots and a mustard vinaigrette. I have never been a fan of carpaccio as I find it rather bland but the combination of flavours really brought out the taste of the beef.
The second starter was my favourite of the savoury dishes for the evening. Polenta (a ball of polenta that was crisped on the outside and tasted like it was filled with melted cheese), cauliflower espuma (roasted cauliflower accompanied by cauliflower ‘foam’), sultanas, pine nuts, kale and brown butter. The sweetness of the sultanas with the richness of the polenta worked beautifully!
The third starter was a mixture of duck, langoustine and corn topped with tarragon veloute and bacon powder. By the end of this dish we were feeling rather full and while taking a break with a watermelon and basil sorbet palate cleanser we asked the waitress to slow it down before our main courses arrived.
With a choice of Pork belly or Seabass for mains we opted for both to be able to compare the dishes. The Pork belly was the downfall of the tasting menu for me. There was a fine carrot powder on the plate that I did not enjoy. The pork was quite dry and the fat was not crispy like it should have been. I felt there was just too much going on with the dish and I would far have preferred them to focus their energy on getting the belly nicely cooked. The Seabass however was one of the highlights of the evening.
Then finally onto the sweet treats… We started off with a pre dessert: assiete (mixture) of berries followed by a Pecan tart, chocolate ganache with vanilla ice-cream, chocolate mousse and smoked meringue. Both dishes were nicely put together and satisfied our sweet tooths.
And just when we thought the evening was over…. We were offered tea and coffee and served petit fours which included fudge and marshmallows.
Aside from the food, the staff were friendly but got side-tracked when we asked them to slow down the speed at which the food was being presented.
It was thoroughly enjoyable evening and a great experience for a first tasting menu.
- Food 4.5/5
- Value 4/5
- Service 4/5
- Atmosphere 5/5
- Overall Rating = 4.5/5
Contact: 011 325 2843