I’ll keep the link there. For easy reference. To find the bit where they say you can only bring 2 of your own bottles. If you can. .
So, while I’ve been beaten there, no harm in regrouping and starting from the beginning:
The noble cause that is this club takes us to lots of very posh restaurants. It’s the paycheck celebration event, spending money is not the issue – good food, good ambiance with good friends is. We have been doing this for 10 months now, and – as jess said last night – we have either been:
- extraordinarily lucky in our choices
- living in a city with examplary, wonderful, restaurants where nothing ever goes wrong
- been total, easy to please lushes (worry), or
- had this coming to us.
d it is.
The first sign of worry was the hushed atmosphere, followed abruptly by the “only 2 bottles of own wine” rule* (not mentioned on their website in any obvious way). The “tap water, please” clearly wrote us off in the minds of our waiters as the “was McDonald’s fully booked, then?” crowd. It’s not just that it’s difficult to get actual tap water (ordered deliberately, for reasons of environmental consciousness – I repeatedly fantasised, over the course of the evening, of having had the foresight to bring a shiny visiting-card sized printed note with me denouncing the bottled water business in order to bring the waiting staff in line), it’s the clear downgrading in terms of respect in the waiter’s eyes that bothered.
The food, which could have redeemed this all, was not quite there. We invented a bunch of rating factors on our way out, and here are some i can recall, with my proposed scores:
- Atmosphere: 6
- Staff: 2
- Food: 7
- Value for money: 2
It could appear that we are simply not used to nouvelle-sized and intended portions, but to that i say “Ginja“! Which has been our best eat so far and is in exactly in the same thrust as Aubergine, but scores 10/10/9/8 on the same scale.
So, the food:
- the tiny little cold cucumber soup and the sorbet we got between courses. That was lovely, interesting flavours – the soup had a goats cheese and parma ham floater (better than it sounds) which made the whole thing lovely. The sorbet was apple/mint, which works.
- The duck. Ask Extemp. That was good, unusual, curried duck. Mmmhm.
- the Asparagus+tuna+Parma ham starter, which was a good balance of flavours and worked well.
- Starters, for those interested, come in at R75-R100 each, which means value for money is difficult. They are tiny, but once again – a good place will do tiny but fill you up with intense flavour. This one fell short.
- the tiny, expensive steak was tough. I will (excuse the terrible focus on money here, but I breathe slowly when scuba diving to save money) pay R165 for a palm-sized steak (see Tokara, for example), but It Was Tough. No redeeming features.
- The Tiger Prawn starter. R95, because of the rare Dwarf Tiger Prawns they have to catch for it.
- I vaguely remember the EL calling his rabbit “anonymous”. Or was it “generic”? Mind, addled.
We forewent deserts, on account of having run out of wine, patience, and the ability to give them any more money.
So, I do think they have a different “experience” planned for us. The key to that seems to be their extensive winelist**, which their ice-queen-sommelier explains to you on a sip-by-sip basis
people at the next table: *sip wine*.
sommelier: *run* Can you feel the peachstones? don’t they just taste like summer? on a raft? Can you hear the little fishes?
people: *nod vigorously*
little fishes: *sploosh*
sommelier: *sidles off*
people at next table: *sip wine*
sommelier: *returns triumphant* note how it develops! Those fishes! Gone! Now, with the rising temperature and … global warming, it’s all … nutmeg! and polar bears! taste the bear? Earthy!
Fishes: *shuffle off*)
i guess we missed out.
* yes, 3 between 4 people seeeeeeeems like a lot, but who are we kidding? and it’s not about the amount, it’s about the restrictions.
** ooh, they had a transparent wine fridge. Which glowed. In slowly-changing, neon colours. Not redeeming.