For someone with an obsessive-compulsive blogging habit, I forget to blog my Salty Cracker choices way too often. Sigh. Sorry. Yindee’s was a while back now, end of March, which in fact meant the first of April owing to the mad socialising in the previous week. I chose Yindee’s slightly cautiously, because the First Rule of Salty Cracker Club is Good Food By Strict Rotation of Choice, but the Second Rule is Not Thai, because none of it is ever as good as Thai as cooked by Stv. (The Third Rule is They Must Allow Us To Bring Wine. The Fourth Rule is that Whoever Chooses Also Drives, with corollaries (a) my car is too small so sometimes I drive home for someone else, and (b) Jo Will Drink Lots And Hardly Ever Drive). However, I wrung the admission from my fellow members that (a) Yindee’s is fun, and (b) we could do Thai as long as it wasn’t any dish Stv usually cooks. Since this to me means all the crunchy deep-fried starter thingies, for which I cherish an illicit passion without any shame whatsoever, Yindee’s it was.
I also wanted something not too upmarket for this, because we did another Overture run the weekend before, and trying to be upmarket after Overture is always an anticlimax. One needs distance. Yindee’s had exactly the right vibe – not too expensive, generally relaxed sort of feel, decent food, waiter with a big grin, lots of dark wood in the décor. It all adds up. The major mistake I made, though, was to agree to try out their low-table cushions-on-the-floor room when I booked. It sounded like a fun idea at the time, but I forgot about my knees. It was never quite comfortable, which I found distracted from the experience – I managed not to break any portion of myself, but there was considerable whale-like floundering in getting up and down. We have now Done This, and don’t need to repeat it. Chairs are my new religion.
They have a one-bottle-per-table corkage policy, causing the Evil Landlord to fulminate something ‘orrible, but in the event their wine list is quite extensive and there are sufficient inexpensive options not to be offensive. (Is it just me, or are CT restaurants limiting corkage bottles more and more often? I blame the recession). Also, jo&stv brought a really good white, although I cannot for the life of me remember which. We did the standard oriental food thing, which was to order one dish each, bung them all in the middle of the table and share, culminating in arguments about who gets the last piece of duck. (Usually me).
Starters were good! fish cake thingies nicely flavourful, slightly standard beef satay and sweetcorn fritters, and really good potato strips in a sesame batter, my favourite from this course. Must try this at home. (I try the sweetcorn fritters at home, frequently, and have to say mine are better, mostly because I can’t restrain myself from Bunging Extra Stuff In, usually more chilli). We eschewed tempura on the grounds that it isn’t Thai, although I would have cheerfully suffered the inauthenticity. Deep fried things in batter make me strangely happy.
I chose, of course, duck for mains, crispy deboned duck with a rather delectable tamarind sauce – yum. The Evil Landlord had seared tuna, which was excellent, in a sort of herb crust. I think Jo had fish of some kind in a garlic and pepper stir fry, yes? also very good. I am totally, utterly and completely unable to remember what Stv ordered. It was also good. There were no actual bad choices here: the mains were better than the starters, I thought, with interesting flavours. The portions are reasonably substantial – I could have done with marginally more, and certainly more in the way of veggie components to the dishes, but we were all full enough not to want dessert.
This was a good experience, but not a brilliant one – solid food, nice vibe and setting without being particularly memorable, reasonable service but not outstanding. (Our waiter vanished completely when we wanted to pay him, and had to be summoned from the depths with strange rituals). Yindee’s bills itself as an “authentic” Thai experience, but I fear Stv’s cooking has spoiled us for that. It pretty much lives up to its cost bracket: I’d eat here again cheerfully and with enjoyment, but not to mark any special occasion. It certainly doesn’t trump our benchmark for Mid-Level Eastern Food, which is Jewel Tavern – flavour, quantity, vibe are all trailing behind the Tavern’s delirious high. Besides, a Lazy Susan on the table adds bonus style points which are difficult to overcome.
On the Patented Jo Table, the judge from Eastern Knee Troubles offers the following:
Atmosphere: 8 / 10 (nice try on the low tables, good vibe)
Staff: 8 / 10 (pleasant, cheerful. Too often Cape Town waiters appear to be confirmed misanthropes.)
Service: 7 / 10 (occasionally absent/slow, but passed the Water Test with flying colours)
Food: 7 / 10 (good but not spectacular)
Value for money: 8 / 10 (priced unpretentiously and appropriately)