Pork belly on Asian noodles with Asian veg.
Pork belly on Asian noodles with Asian veg.

Cognac, spice and all things nice

By Frank Chemaly Time of article published Jun 5, 2021

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Dukkah Restaurant & Bar

Where: 59 Florida Road

Open: Daily 11am to 11pm

Call: 031 271 3531

Dukkah is a wonderfully stylish, modern restaurant with a great cocktail and bar selection. It’s one of those establishments that helps uplift Florida Road from the ordinary to a spot to be seen. It was the perfect setting for a brandy tasting for the relaunch of the Bisquit & Dubouché range on cognacs in South Africa.

We were welcomed into the upstairs lounge and dining area with a selection of cocktails made with the Bisquit & Dubouché VS – one with a peach and basil theme, another with a strawberry concoction and a third with ginger. The ginger variety really was a treat, the glace ginger garnish adding that little extra punch.

Avocado Ritz with a spicy red pepper salsa.

The VS is the regular entry model so to speak, Bisquit & Dubouché’s Johnnie Red if you will. It retails at around R450. Later in the tasting this lovely amber liquid was paired with sesame-inspired dark chocolate, which worked well.

We then moved on to the VSOP, the VIP in the range that retails for a couple of thousand more. This was a deeper, darker spirit that paired well with salted caramel. And then onto the highlight of the evening the XO, or the VVIP, and this sets you back a good few thousand more. Paired with a pear chocolate, this tasted absurdly floral until that beautiful silky smooth liquid hit the palate. With it’s orange, apricot and strong vanilla notes this was a delicious cognac.

The Bisquit & Dubouché VSOP paired with a salted caramel chocolate.

The three course set menu too was interesting, challenging and well delivered. Chef Dan Evans, who headed the kitchen with the opening of Pintxada many years ago, is now running the show, and the limited menu speaks to his passion for good local food, cooked well.

I enjoyed my classic starter of Avocado Ritz, topped with nice plump prawns and a really piquant red pepper sauce which lifted it. The watermelon and feta salad too was delicious, the ingredients crisp and fresh. This is one that can soon become a soggy mess. Salt and pepper squid was another option which was crisp with a good bite of chilli and served with garlic aioli.

Wild mushroom risotto with truffle oil, spinach and shaved Parmesan.

Marrow bones, chicken livers, spiced fish balls and steamed mussels all appear on the main menu along with a small and interesting array of salads, one including pulled pork belly.

I opted for the wild mushroom risotto as a main, laced with truffle oil and topped with wilted spinach and Parmesan shavings. The veg choice was because a good risotto is a thing of great beauty and I am never going to stand at the stove with boiling stock to make it at home. All that stirring. And this was a beautiful risotto, rich creamy and with a full mushroom flavour. Great cooking thanks.

The pork belly with it’s beautiful crackling served on Asian noodles with Asian veg looked good too, as did the fillet served in a baby onion and red wine sauce with mash.

Lemon posset with berries and a shortcake biscuit.

When it comes to steaks on the main menu, fillet, rump, sirloin and T-bones are all available, with sauces that include masala butter, biltong and cheese, mushroom, green peppercorn and wholegrain mustard. There’s also a 600g picanha, a cut of steak from the top of the rump popular in Brazil. Lamb chops, pork ribs and beef short rib complete the grill options.

We finished with a lemon posset served in a console jar topped with fresh berries and a melt in the mouth shortbread biscuit. This light tasty dessert was straight out of Evans’ Pintxada playbook, so watch the menu space soon. Baked cheesecake and a chocolate volcano with fresh custard are also on the menu.

Food: 4

Service: 3 ½

Ambience: 4

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