The shift in the menu is thanks to executive chef Chad Inder. He said this time round there is a lot of Mediterranean and Spanish influence. The new approach will also see the menu having a three-month rotation period.
Two of the new dishes are the Moroccan chicken soup and a beef and kidney chilli with a cumin crema. These are ideal for winter as both have a good dose of warming spices.
The Moroccan chicken soup has a great balance of flavours and just enough of a bite to not be too spicy.
The beef and kidney chilli does have a lot of heat, but the crema offers just the right amount of relief to prevent your mouth from becoming a furnace. Both of these are hearty dishes and can be a starters or mains.
For the mains, La Mer is offering beef fillet with seasonal vegetables, pan-fried line fish, roasted pork belly and a pan-seared duck breast.
Beef fillet is a must on any menu and Inder didn’t disappoint. Cooked to perfection, the beef could’ve done with a touch more salt. The sauce did help, but if you have the fillet on it’s own it could be slightly under-seasoned. The accompanying vegetables are perfectly seasoned, especially the potato fondant and the mushrooms.
As food trends go, pork belly is one of those dishes that have become a staple in Cape Town. The sign of a good pork belly is a crispy skin with a juicy centre. The pork belly at La Mer is very flavourful and well cooked. I’m slightly over pork belly, but when it's this good I can’t resist.
Next, we had the duck breast.
Cooking a duck breast properly is difficult and any restaurant that offers a well-cooked duck breast receives a Michelin star in my book.
Inder serves the breast on a bed of spinach. The spinach pairs well with the duck and the accompanying cherry glaze - definitely one of my favourite dishes on the menu.
The last mains we tried was the pan-fried line fish on a bed of jasmine rice.
While I’m not the biggest fan of pan-fried line fish, with the exception of salmon, this was one of the best-prepared dishes of the day. When you pan fry fish I prefer it to have a crispy skin with moist meat. Inder delivered a superb dish and I would definitely come back for it.
A meal is not complete without dessert. Rooibos-infused dishes and drinks have become one of the biggest food trends in Cape Town and merging the aromatic flavour of rooibos tea with the creaminess of a creme brulee is a match made in heaven.
The chocolate “Indulge” is no slouch either. This is Inder’s take on a chocolate fondant and it is heavenly. The best part of eating any chocolate fondant is when your spoon goes through the crust and the chocolate centre oozes out. The Indulge is no different. It really is chocolate heaven.
Moving away from fine dining to more approachable eating is the right move for La Mer. In the coming months, it will also be redoing the interior of the restaurant to reflect the change in the menu.
If you are in Sea Point and you’re looking for good quality reasonably priced food, make sure you stop by La Mer at the Radisson Blu Le Vendome.
Starters range from R60 to R90, mains from R85 to R195 and desserts from R55 -R145. - Staff reporter