Tag Archives: Tapas

Momo Baohaus

Bao… You know that soft steamed Chinese bun filled with delicious ingredients. The bun is light and airy and oh so delicious. Yeah that good stuff. I’ve been having difficulty finding good bao in Pretoria so when Momo Baohaus caught my eye as I was passing Greenside in Joburg I knew that’s where I was having lunch.

Momo Baohaus serves Asian dishes and specialises in bao, bowls (rice, noodles, and wokked greens), and sushi. And every dish on the menu looks tasty.

Some treats before ordering

From the street the restaurant looked empty but as soon as we were standing outside my friends and I were shocked by how full the restaurant was. We got the last table! And we still had to turn it into a table for 3.

As soon as we were seated menus appeared and a couple minutes later (yes, two minutes) a waiter was ready to take our drinks order. A friend and I decided to be adventurous and tried the Turkish delight lemonade and the lemongrass yuzu ginger beer. Surprisingly, the lemonade wasn’t too sweet. And it was tasty. The ginger beer was also tasty and had a bit of a tart taste and a bit acidic. But both drinks were delicious and refreshing.

Lemongrass yuzu ginger beer and Turkish delight lemonande

For food we wanted to order everything or at least I wanted to order everything. We started off with tapas: Korean fried chicken wings (spicy, crispy and dripping with sauce. So yummy); stir fried greens spring rolls (bland but the sweet chili sauce made it enjoyable); and the szechuan prawn wontons (the best of the 3: spicy, tender, and mouth-watering). The wontons are a must.

After that tasty treat we ordered bowls and bao. The Kung Pow bao definitely has a kick, thanks to the  gochujang (a red chili paste that is sweet, savoury, and spicy). The beef was crunchy and the bao was tender and sweet. It was perfect.

For the bowls we ordered the szechuan (chicken with noodles); Bangkok (beef with jasmine rice); and Seoul (beef with noodles). The szechuan bowl was the best of out all 3. The chicken was tender and spicy and the sauce was delicious. Definitely a dish to try. The Bangkok was also delicious but it could’ve had just a bit of sauce. Nonetheless the beef was delicious. The Seoul dish was also tasty. Although I having more than one shiitake mushroom would’ve been great and the beef was a bit too crunchy for me. Still, all the bowls were cooked well and were unique and tasty.

The food at Momo Baohaus is delicious and flavourful. Many of the dishes leave you craving for more. And the dishes are huge so you have enough for later in the day or for the next morning (when the flavours will be even stronger).

The service is also great! There was almost no wait between the dishes, which created only one problem: we ran out of space on the table.

I give Momo Baohaus 3.5 cupcakes (and order the wontons):

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Review guide:

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No rating (read: why have you even bothered to open)

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Poor (read: shit)

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Average (read: meh)

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Good (read: above mediocrity)

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Very Good (read: fling your money at them. It’s worth it)

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Extraordinary (read: if you have to make a sacrifice to be here, do it)

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Culture Club

I’ve been craving a place where you can relax and feel transported away in Pretoria. And the Culture Club in Pretoria is exactly that.

I arrived a few minutes early, before my friend, and as I was sitting there I couldn’t help feel a nostalgic feeling on have sundowners on the Camps Bay Promenade in Cape Town. Sitting in the Culture Club’s comfy chairs, with the tropical house playing the background, I couldn’t help but feel transported to Cape Town. I had to wake myself up and remind myself that I was not at the beach but in Pretoria East.

I was initially seated at a table for 2 but I felt that the table was quite small. It is a tapas bar so I was planning on ordering a number of tapas. So I moved tables, which my waiter kindly agreed on, even though many of the tables were reserved. Note: Always make a booking for Friday and Saturday nights at the Culture Club. It gets packed.

While waiting, I ordered a Pimms Cup. The bartender was not shy with the Pimms and within a few sips, I was relaxed. When my friend finally arrived, we ordered the meat and cheese board and churros. It’s an odd combination I know, but CHURROS.

The meat and cheese board came with beef carpaccio, pastrami, olives, gherkins, white cheddar cheese, peppers, and a spicy tomato sauce. The meat was fresh and the cheese was aged well. It’s the perfect platter for 2 people to share. And it’s filling!

The churros were unfortunately not the best. They were a bit oily as you bite in but the chocolate was delicious.

While I didn’t try a lot of the tapas, as planned, I was happy with the platter. The service at the Culture Club is also great! We were constantly checked on our waiter, and when he’s shift ended, we had fantastic service with the next waiter. As mentioned before, the ambiance is also fantastic. It’s chilled and comfortable. The perfect place for after work drinks on a Friday.

I give the Culture Club 2 cupcakes. I haven’t had such great service in a long time in Pretoria:

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Review guide:

Poor                    Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector

Fair                      Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector

Good                    Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector

Very Good          Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector

Excellent            Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector

Extraordinary    Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour

Cape to Cuba

Cape to Cuba has been a restaurant I’ve wanted to visit since moving to Cape Town. The idea of sitting by the ocean, watching the waves and smoking a cigar definitely appealed to me. Unfortunately, I never found the time to venture to Kalk Bay. However, all I need was some motivation. That being relocating to Joburg. So I made it my mission to head to Cape to Cuba before I left the Mother City.

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Cape to Cuba is located next to the train line, with an amazing view of the ocean and the harbour. The restaurant has a Cuban vibe to it, with chandeliers, and references to Ernest Hemingway and Che Guevara. Both the restaurant and the bar have this inviting feel.

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We were met by a friendly waiter who let us wander from table to table until we found the right one. Guess it pays coming during a weekday and during lunch 😉 . He quickly took our drinks order: I had the Hibiscus Berry Cooler, which was very sweet due to the Monin Hibiscus extract and the lemonade. Still it was a refreshing drink. Janina had the Virgin Mojito, which is basically lemonade.

To eat Janina and I went overboard, against the better judgement of our waiter, who kindly informed us that we won’t finish all the food. But we were determined! We ordered a wide range of tapas:

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First, we had the chili poppers which were spicy and sweet (thanks to the cream cheese). I love trying out chili poppers but I can never handle the heat. The barbecue sauce that accompanied the poppers helped by reducing the spiciness.

We then moved onto the potato peels with cream cheese and sweet chili sauce that helped with the heat of the poppers. I really underestimated those poppers. The peels were crispy and delicious, plus the sweet chili sauce added a great flavour.

Next was the three corn fritters which came with a sweet chili sauce. I must admit the size of the fritters amused me. They were much larger than I expected, which meant that the fritters were quite doughy.

The pan fried chorizo and olives were next. The chorizo was cooked well but I expected the chorizo to be spicy. The only spiciness came from the sauce. The olives were tasty and soft and paired well with the chorizo. The Cuban bread that accompanied it was quite dense but soaked up the sauce nicely, making it a great spoon 😛 .

Then we got our fingers messy with the sticky pork ribs. The ribs were delicious with a barbecue sauce and were tender. However, a finger bowl would’ve been appreciated to clean our fingers.

My favourite dish was the mussels, which I expected to be served in a thick, creamy sauce, but was pleasantly surprised with the creamy sauce it was served with. The sauce had wine, garlic and dill. Although it did taste like there was coconut milk as well.

Also delicious was the grilled calamari tubes, with paprika, capers and red peppers. The calamari was cooked well and was spicy. The capers added to the saltiness of the dish.

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Lastly, we had the grilled sardines, which were very salty. The sardines were covered in coarse salt and Semolina. Honestly, I don’t enjoy sardines but Janina enjoyed them and even took them as takeaways.

My experience at Cape to Cuba was fantastic! The food was delicious, the staff friendly and sitting close to the beach added to the Cuban feel.

I give Cape to Cuba 2 cupcakes 🙂

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Review guide:

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Good             Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector

Very Good    Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector

Excellent        Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector

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Rua

“Offering the best in European street food” was all I had to read to peek my interest in Rua, a recent restaurant that opened in Cape Town. Rua is located in Wembley Square in Gardens, making it conveniently placed. The restaurant is decorated well: it has a wood feel and plenty of Cuban art-pieces, creating a relaxed ambiance. I was already excited about Rua just from the decor!

My boyfriend and I arrived at Rua just after 4pm so it was quite empty, there were only a few tables occupied. After finally managing to get the attention of a waiter, we ordered as many tapas as our stomachs could handle.

First off was the rosemary salted hand cut chips. The chips were seasoned well and were quite thick. But they were soggy, which became unappetizing after a while.

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Rosemary salted chips

Next was the Panko Crumbed Prawns with Harissa spiced mayo. This dish was also disappointing. The prawns were doughy, so after a few bites, I felt it was best not to finish it. The sauce was not spicy and tasted like a thousand island sauce. There definitely was no harissa in it.

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Panko crumbed prawns

The next dish was the chicken and pineapple springrolls. An interesting combination for a spring roll and came with a sauce, that tasted of hoisin and plum sauce. The chicken was cooked well and the pineapple added sweetness that cut through the heaviness of the sauce. However, the pastry was too thick. There was more pastry than required, making the spring roll heavy.

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Chicken and pineapple spring rolls

Out of intrigue we ordered the chicken popcorn. Bad choice again. While the popcorn was crunchy, it was very oily. I enjoy greasy food every now and then but when I can taste the oil is where it becomes too much. The popcorn was also left unfinished.

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Chicken popcorn

At this point, we hadn’t finished anything we ordered. The last 2 dishes were the Deep Fried Beef Ravioli and the baby calamari. The ravioli was accompanied by tomato salsa (which was more like a sauce), guacamole and creme fraiche. Most of the ravioli was delicious. The rest was too hard to eat. The ravioli was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, with the beef cooked well. It went well with the accompaniments, add a mexican flavour to the dish.

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Deep fried beef ravioli

The calamari came with a garlic aioli and was also delicous. The calamari was cooked well, not chewy at all. Although not mentioned on the menu, the dish came with a salsa that added spiciness to the calamari (and also to the chips 😛 ). The aioli helped with cooling down the spiciness. After the previous 4 dishes, the last 2 were were welcomed.

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Calamari

It seems that the dishes are hit or miss at Rua, which is disappointing. The tapas are priced between R25 and R65, which is quite pricey given the poor quality of the food. I must admit though, the tapas were presented well.

Aside from the food quality, the service was poor. This seems to be a problem that a few places in Cape Town suffer from and restaurants don’t realise that poor service ruins your experience. As I mentioned, it was quite empty while we were at Rua so one would think that you will have an attentive waiter. This wasn’t the case. The waiter never checked on us, even when bringing more dishes. Getting the attention of the waiter was another problem, as it took about 10 minutes to get the attention of any waiter and a few more minutes before our waiter arrived.

I was torn between giving Rua zero or one cupcake due to the poor food quality and service. But the ambiance was great! So I’m giving Rua half a cupcake. Sad really, seeing that I was really excited to eat here.

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Review guide:

Poor               Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector

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Good             Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector

Very Good    Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector Cupcake-Outline-Vector

Excellent        Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector

Extraordinary Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour Cupcake-Outline-Vector colour