The club’s over-larnification at Aubergine has led to a snail-like drawing in of horns, and we’re all about the relaxed, mid-range experience at the moment. Wild Fig was perfect for this. For a start, it’s beautiful: quite apart from the piquant detail of being next door to the mental hospital, it has the stunning giant wild fig tree outside, and the restaurant itself is a white-painted house on multiple levels, curled around three sides of a courtyard full of trees. The interior is dark-painted, cosy and eclectic, and very slightly shabby in a way that’s intimate and comforting.
The food is rather a fun combination of nouvelle and pub: intense sauces, interesting flavour combinations, but with the portions approximately twice the size of somewhere like Aubergine, and the main course comes standard with roast potatoes and vegetables. We all overate horribly. Starters were substantial in themselves; I had spring rolls, slightly fatty but tasty, and the EL’s deep-fried camembert was perfectly done, a great improvement on the slightly stringy one we had at the Hussar. (Owing to my somewhat dilatory approach to this reviewing thing I can’t remember what anyone else had, but I’m sure they’ll chip in in the comments).
Main course enabled me to pursue my current goal of trying all the possible versions of duck in Cape Town in search of the perfect one: this was crispy duck in an orange sauce, very flavourful, with the kind of crispy skin that really requires one goes at the bones in one’s fingers. Other main courses at the table included, if I remember correctly, some sort of game in a chilli chocolate sauce, and a giant chunk of lamb shank – the usual ritual of fork-swopping was observed, and it was all very good.
We had to try dessert, despite being full, because the ice-cream offerings were so unusual. I had a brandysnap basket arrangement with berry ice-cream, somewhat delectable, but I think the chilli and honey nut ice-cream sandwich was even better, with wonderful flavour contrasts and a subtle bite.
If I have anything to carp about it was possibly the service, which was pleasant but slightly slow. This didn’t really matter, as it suited our relaxed mood perfectly.