On19 Restaurant, on the 19th floor of the Westin Hotel, is a chic restaurant that has panoramic views of the city. And the food isn’t bad either.
I was invited for dinner at the restaurant as part of their dinner experience series, where the chef creates a five course menu using one ingredient in all the courses.
Food and beverages manager Niall Bruyns opened the night by introducing the chef and the one ingredient of the night.
Bruyns introduced chef Anreith Smythe who revealed she and her team used coriander as the star ingredient.
Anreith did her studies in the Cape Winelands before leaving for Dubai where she had an opportunity to work for world renowned chefs, including celebrity chef Marco Pierre White, while she worked at his restaurant in Dubai, Frankies.
She then also moved to Ronda Locatelli, where she worked under chef Giorgio Locatelli before returning to South Africa and eventually settled at On19.
Also known as cilantro and dhania, coriander is a common ingredient found in Cape Malay and Indian dishes.
It may be used in its natural form as a fresh herb or ground into a powder form. Health benefits include lowering bad cholesterol and it contains anti inflammatory properties. Not to mention, it adds amazing flavour to a dish.
Chef Anreith says: “Coriander is definitely one of my favourite ingredients, I use it all the time. If I am not cooking with it, I use it in all my drinks. Please don’t judge me. I created this menu so I can show you how versatile coriander actually is.”
Each course of the dinner throughout the series is paired with a wine. On this occasion shiraz was the drink of the night.
We started with a spicy vegetable and coriander soup with roast garlic panna cotta.
The combination of the warm soup and cold panna cotta and the different textures of each with a touch of coriander created the perfect balance of textures and taste.
The starter, and my personal favourite of the night, was a honey-glazed duck with rooibos infused risotto, spekboom and coriander.
Not only was the meal beautifully plated, the duck went well with the risotto, considering that the duck was well cooked. The honey glaze gave it a lovely touch of sweetness, but not overbearing.
The next dish, the intermezzo, was a dirty green tomato - heirloom tomato with a coriander cocktail. This was not my favourite, mainly because it resembled a very runny vegetable soup. The fact that it was cold, didn’t convince me at all.
This was followed by the main, baja fish - corn crisp, coriander and cumin potatoes, kiwi, rosewater and beetroot mayonnaise.
For dessert, we were served lemon grass and green apple tarte tatin with sweet ginger and coriander sorbet.
My partner and I enjoyed both these courses and I loved the dessert. The sorbet was delicious.
Guests can have their own dinner experience with endless views of the city and the Waterfront.
The next event is scheduled for July 28, when mushrooms and cabernet sauvignon will be the stars of the show.
If mushrooms don’t tickle your taste buds, there is always cinnamon and merlot and egg and chardonnay for August and September.
* The dinner costs R475 per person. For reservations, call the Westin on 021 412 9050.