July 1, 2020

Restaurants step up to the plate

RESTAURANTS STEP UP TO THE PLATE

As restaurants begin to re-open, valiantly and differently, we need to continue to support them. I for one hope that they will still offer the dine-in options (which we can enjoy with wine, thereby supporting the wine farms). I hope that diners will be forgiving and encouraging as the restaurants and chefs navigate new territory – I salute them for their innovation and courage. I personally will only be returning to restaurants once out of my sling – the thought of having my food cut up in public for me is daunting!

ONE-PLATED UPPER BLOEM RESTAURANT

We have enjoyed some fabulous dine-in options, and thanks to Dineplan, it has been easy to either buy gift vouchers, or to order these take-away options online. When Natalie, brand manager of the Gourmet Guide celebrated a milestone birthday last week, part of her gift was a delivery from Upper Bloem. I couldn’t wait to ask her how it was. “When the doorbell rang and a friendly voice on the other end said ‘Upper Bloem delivery’, I immediately began to salivate. I knew that what was coming my way was going to be a delicious journey of Cape Malay utopia,” said Natalie.

Here is her feedback:

First up – read through the instructions. You’ll want to dive right into the spiced samosa crisps but chefs Andre and Henry suggest otherwise. Place your main in the oven to finish cooking, then snack on the starter whilst you wait. From the moment you unpack all the interesting containers with the heady aromas of spices, you’ll want to devour everything. The starter of the lightest snoek pâté paired with samosa crisps, drizzled with just the right amount of teriyaki glaze, hit the spot. The generous portion of chicken coconut curry with Jerusalem artichokes, Jeera onions and topped with crispy phyllo pastry, was enjoyed alongside Andre’s flaky-fresh roti and tomato smoor, a real Winter warmer. But the biggest praise is for the warm Winter salad – roasted butternut with dukkah, pickled shiitakes, lentils and a smoked dressing – it ticked all the boxes. Multi-textured, packed with flavour and perfectly balanced.

I am a big fan of both carrot cake and miso so when I saw that dessert was carrot koekies with miso cream cheese dip, the gustatory cortex part of my brain fired up. A winning combination that ended the treat from my gourmet bosses, for my 30th birthday celebration on a high.

This three-course meal, at R225 per person, is an experience well worth repeating. Treat yourself, visit their website to order your UBtoGO through Dineplan.

FOXCROFT

Our weekend kicked off with Foxcroft at Home, personally delivered by Dale from the La Colombe team. First course was a tangy yellowfin tuna with salsa matcha, radish escabeche, avo and blue corn tostada. I personally love strong spice, but my companions were less adventurous, so dived into the delicious green olive focaccia to soothe their palates. It was hot!

The Oak Valley pork belly with kimchi, charred cabbage, spicy peanuts and a smoked pork jus was tender and tasty. The sweetest tooth of our foursome was deliriously happy with the banana cake, Bahibé crémeux, banana caramel and coffee pebbles. It was topped by a chocolate disc reflecting the fox. Chef Glenn Foxcroft Williams has his roots in patisserie, having spent time as pastry chef at La Colombe, so we knew that the dessert would be a cinch. I’m delighted to see that Foxcroft and family are re-opening this week – La Petite Colombe, La Colombe and Protegé, all with superb specials – be part of helping the restaurant industry resurrect itself.

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