Where: Shop 37, Fields Centre, 13 Old Main Road, Kloof
Open: Monday to Saturday noon to 10pm, Sunday noon to 4pm.
Call: 074 037 0286
We found the last space in the car park and arrived at a restaurant that was packed. We hadn’t booked. Was this time for plan B?
We were warmly welcomed and told there were a few tables available on the verandah, which was enclosed and the heaters were on. We were happy, and our waitress couldn't have been more charming.
We’re at the Hussar Grill in Kloof, today a chain, but one based on the tried-and-tested recipe of the first restaurant that opened in Rondebosch in 1964. The same attention to top-quality meats and the friendly and open hospitality were very much in evidence.
As we were given our menus, our waitress also offered us the Date Night menu, a selection of their popular dishes where a starter and main, or main and dessert, with a complementary bottle of their house wine came in at R399 a couple. At that value, it was not surprising the restaurant was full.
The Glass Man and I quickly decided we would turn this into an impromptu date.
Despite a platinum wine list, their premium house red is specially commissioned. It's an easy drinking shiraz, cab sav and pinotage blend that will pair with anything meaty.
Starters might include classics like Italian tomato soup, prawn and avo cocktail, stuffed field mushrooms or chicken livers, done here in a sherry and onion cream. Hollandse bitterballen and springbok loin carpaccio add interest, as do marrow bones, which were, sadly, not available on this occasion.
We opted for the snails (R80) in a garlic cream or garlic butter. The Glass Man being something of a cream fiend meant there was no choice in the matter. These were most enjoyable. I tried the mussels pot (R105) in a cream, herb, garlic and white wine sauce. The sauce had a strong bite of onion which I didn’t mind at all, and the mussel portion was generous. We mopped up all the sauces with little rings of fried bread.
Mains obviously feature steaks in all their guises; fillet, rump, sirloin and rib-eye available in a range of sizes. There’s fillet on the bone, T-bones, lamb chops and shanks, ribs. Game is on the menu, when available, as are ostrich steaks, as well as speciality steaks like chateaubriand and carpetbaggers (with smoked oysters and cheddar). The Hollandse biefstuck, rolled in coarse black pepper and flamed in brandy enticed. For those wanting something lighter, there’s a house burger and steak roll.
The date night selection included Parmesan chicken breasts, a half deboned roast chicken, 200g of rump or sirloin and a vegetable stack. The Glass Man insisted on trying the roast vegetable stack ‒ in a steakhouse of all places ‒ which was seasonal roast veggies, grilled halloumi, with a tomato confit and balsamic glaze. It looked pretty and tasted good, although the roast veggies were a shade butternut heavy. It needed a little more variety ‒ maybe carrot and parsnip and some grilled peppers and courgettes.
I really enjoyed the 200g rump with crisp fries (R150) and a good Béarnaise sauce (R36). This was extra and not included on the Date Night menu. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare and I liked the fact that it wasn’t swimming in a heavy basting sauce, and that the basting sauce wasn’t sweet, as they so often are.
We decided we had room for desserts, in fact the Glass Man admitted that’s why he’d had the vegetable stack, to leave a little room. We were presented a platter with samples of all the desserts on it ‒ a death by chocolate, home-made baked lemon cheese cake, crème brûlée and malva pudding. In the middle was a chocolate martini (R60). The Glass Man had to try that. It was dangerously delicious ‒ rich, thick, deeply chocolaty and boozy. I’d hate to think what the morning after would look like if you decided to smash a few of these.
I went for a classic winter dessert, and another you don’t often see on menus, the apple and blueberry crumble (R75) which, on a chilly evening, went down a treat. The crumble may have benefited from slightly longer in the oven, but the deep apple and blueberry filling was a real home comfort, as was the bowl of custard it came with.
The Bill: R572
The Independent on Saturday