Don't be misled by warm sunny days and the unseasonable south-easter that has been blowing; it's still winter and there are loads of restaurant specials to be had. And there's nothing wrong with enjoying them on a nice warm sunny day either. We've tried out a few, in various price ranges, and sourced others that appear to be worth a try, too.
We began our week at Pastis Brasserie (Constantia Main Road, call 021 794 8334), where you can get five courses for R150 - or two for R125, but that doesn't seem to make much sense - Monday to Thursday evenings.
The set menu offers two amuse bouches, a choice of three soups, three starters, five main courses and three desserts. It was the first night of the special when we visited, so service was a little slow, but picked up as we progressed from oyster mornay and lobster vol au vent to white bean with truffle oil and crispy crackling and French onion soup. Our starters were a tian of avo and prawn, and scallops on horseback (wrapped in bacon), followed by ginger glazed duck with noodles and fillet au poivre. We finished with lemon tart and an interesting camembert brulee.
The next night we dined at Salt at the Ambassador Hotel in Bantry Bay (021 439 7258). Even at night this restaurant offers an incredible sea view, but this month's special is available for lunch as well as dinner. |The kitchen prepared us the starter of beef carpaccio with mixed leaves and a parmesan crisp. The other option is a winter vegetable vol au vent.
The main course options are baby chicken with basmati rice and jus gras, or linefish with champ, bok choy and truffled jus, which is what we had. For dessert, enjoy pavlova with chocolate cream and berry sorbet, but I heartily recommend the citrus pudding with vanilla mascarpone and a brandy snap.
Salt's special costs R140 for two courses (R165 with paired wines), or R170 and R195 respectively for three courses.
I recommend you precede your meal with a cocktail at the new Salt Vodka Bar across the road, where Darrel will wow you with his creations.
Night three saw us being chauffeured to 1800 at the Cape Royale in Green Point (021 430 0506), where you can get a 200g beef fillet Wellington, coated with mushroom duxelles, wrapped in flaky pastry, served with vegetables and creamy mash for R99. The deal includes a glass of Moreson bubbles on arrival and complimentary parking.The service was impeccably five star.
The week of feasting continued at Sinn's in Wembley Square, Gardens (021 465 0967), where chef patron Thomas Sinn kindly prepared us several samples from the lunch and dinner winter specials menu. The former costs R50 with a glass of juice, and the latter R95 with a glass of wine. Although we were having tasting portions, we spied the full-size dishes being served at a neighbouring table and they are generous enough to rank as jolly good value for money.
We started with a Mediterranean salad of mixed leaves, olives and olive pesto, tomato, salami, feta and crostini topped with hummus. The chilli con carne with salsa, avo and corn chips was delicious, as was the spicy peanut curry with succulent chicken, served with poppadum and basmati rice.
From the dinner menu we tried the wild mushroom risotto with grated pecorino and truffle oil, crumbed chicken with gorgonzola cream, butternut lasagna, and rich, hearty slow-braised springbok pie.
There is no better time to plan a visit to the winelands. Until the end of September, Terroir in Stellenbosch (021 880 8167) is running its Green Season Specials menu, comprising a choice of three starters, three mains, a couple of desserts and a cheese board every day. Choose either two or three courses for R165 and R195 respectively, for lunch or dinner. Think parsnip soup with vanilla and tarragon; mussel soup with saffron and garlic croutons; linefish with a miso glaze and brown butter and lime vinaigrette; and for dessert, cold vanilla rice pudding with poached pears, roasted walnuts and maple syrup or a rum baba with pistachio anglaise.
In Franschhoek, Rickety Bridge (021 876 2129 ) not only has a lunch special of three courses for R150 at its Restaurant in the Vines, but an overnight stay package, including a hot stone massage, until month end.
The menu includes chicken ballotine stuffed with spinach, red peppers and feta, or a forest mushroom crepe simmered in leek puree and beetroot sauce for starters. Tomato bredie with garlic mash, or Cape Malay chicken curry are the mains options, with chocolate bread and butter pudding with vanilla sauce or malva pudding with home-made custard to finish.
For just R25 more, add a flight of three Rickety Bridge wines.