Restaurant Week kicked off on the 22 October 2015 and boy was I excited! A whole week dedicated to eating scrumptious food. I was so excited I made the booking’s a month in advance, before it was even publicly available . I think I have a problem, haha. So this blog and the next 2 are dedicated to my first South African Restaurant Week.
I kicked off the festivities with visiting Tobago’s Restaurant, situated at the Radisson Blu with a spectacular view of the ocean. It really is an amazing place to watch the sunset and, luckily in my case, watch the full moon rise. On arrival, a friendly host met us at the front and showed us to our table. Already off to a great start!
After having celebratory sundowners, we were ready to start with the tasting menu. Although it took a little bit of time, our Springbok carpaccio arrived. It was a huge portion making me wish I had skipped lunch. The starter was accompanied by an onion marmalade, garlic rye and a goat’s cheese sesame seed ball. It was divine! On its own the springbok carpaccio was fresh. The onion marmalade added great depth to the dish and had a bit of sting (it tasted like there was bit of horse radish as well). The warm goat’s cheese provided a rich creaminess to the carpaccio and the rye added crunchiness making it an amazing dish. So many simple ingredients to create a delectable starter. I was impressed and ready for the main dish.
Again we waited a bit for the main dish and were thrilled when it arrived. We ordered the grilled rib-eye steak, medium rare. However, upon arrival I noticed that the Béarnaise sauce had started to congeal and upon touching the steak I was disappointed to find the meat cold. The disappointment grew as we realised that they had overcooked our meat. We promptly sent back our food and had the host, the manager and the waiter apologize to us for the quality of the food. On top of the apologies, to help with the wait, we were brought sorbet to enjoy. I must admit I’ve been to a number of well-established and reputable restaurants and I’ve never experienced this level of amazing service when something goes wrong. My friend and I were thoroughly impressed and we appreciated Tobago’s handling of the situation.
Not too long after, round 2 of our mains arrived. We cautiously cut in to see if they had the order correct and they did. We dived straight in! The steak was a bit tough and fatty, which was disappointing given all the drama. However, the Béarnaise sause was rich and buttery, the cauliflower puree with truffle oil was delicious, with the truffle oil adding earthiness, and the caramalised onions were cooked well, not too soft. But my favourite was the wilted kale, which was crunchy and unexpected. All the accompaniments paired well with the meat, well the portions I could eat. I’m still giggling to myself remembering how my friend kept commenting about how long I was taking to chew a small piece of the steak 😛 .
With the mains done, although most of my steak still on the plate, we waited for dessert. I had the pineapple and mint panna cotta with star aniseed meringue, mint gel and pineapple crisp. The panna cotta was perfect for the warm night and the pineapple and mint infusion added sweetness and freshness. The meringue was a bit dull for me. If there was any infusion in the meringue it was very subtle. The mint gel added to the freshness but the pineapple crisp was too sweet – it had a candied taste and was unappetizing. I enjoyed the panna cotta on its own but I doubt I’d order it again.
My friend, who has a name – it’s Janina 😛 , had the Rooibos cheese cake. The cheese cake was delicious and the rooibos was infused well. The blueberry compote, strawberries and mint provided some sweetness, however, the cheese cake was very heavy. Janina only managed to finish 1 of the 3 pieces and after eating the panna cotta, I was no help.
Even though the main course was a disappointment our night was not ruined. The other courses were enjoyable and I would definitely go back to Tobago’s for their sundowners. The level of service is impeccable and the ambiance fantastic.
I give Tobago’s Restaurant 3 out of 5 cupcake