A few Fridays ago, the new (and some might say improved) Crackernaut roster went down into the deep south of (the republic of) Hout Bay for some Pacific Rim cuisine at Cheyne’s (@cheyne_reaction on the Twitters). Trivia factoid: this was only our second Cracker in Hout Bay. (Also: no Jaegers or Kaiju were spotted, in case you were wondering.)
The food was excellent all round. The menu is tapas-style and is divided into Sea, Land, Earth, and (erm) Happy Endings. We had a good mix of animals and vegetables, and pretty much every dish was delicious. There was a wide range of flavours and styles and it tickled all my Eastern bells.
The decor is also worth a mention: slightly odd, but very groovy prints of graffiti-as-art cover the walls and give the place an interesting feel. Our table was a nice big, solid, bit of wood, but it did make us feel like we were sitting quite far away from each other.
The service was really good, but we kept having odd not-actual-misunderstandings with our waiter. It often wasn’t clear that he had got what we said and that all was good. But the right food and drinks kept coming out, so we were happy.
After a couple of plates we started spotting some patterns. While it was beautifully presented, the food started to look a bit similar. The setting for it, I mean: every dish came in the same style: perched on a black slate tile, with little blobs of Kewpie mayo and little hills of (admittedly nommy) kimchi on. A minor quibble to be sure, but a bit odd.
In summery summary
Next time I’m out that way again, it will definitely be high on my list as somewhere to go, but I suspect I wouldn’t make the trip out just to go and eat there.
Despite being in a hotel (the Hout Bay Manor) I though Pure looked promising: lovely decor, interesting sounding food. Unfortunately, we were a bit disappointed.
As a quick aside: the place is quiet hard to find at night. The road leading up to HBM isn’t signposted; the entrance gate thing is big and labelled, but isn’t lit. So we missed it the first time. Ahem.
Where Pure dropped points was staff and service: most of the waiting staff were polite, but curt with it, and had no warmth. Compare this to somewhere like the Roundhouse (extremely formal and fancy, but also very friendly) or (Crackernaut winningest hearth-throb) Overture and the comparison is quite unfavourable. They also weren’t knowledgable about the food: Jess’s quite tasty pureed beetroot soup with roast garlic was described as “beet soup *frown*”; Jo asked about pasta portion sizes as she wanted one for a starter, was told they were quite large, and got three small ravioli; there was “a misprint” on the menu that meant taking three scoops of the same ice cream as a dish cost more than taking three scoops separately, which they had to discuss with the chef to find out.
Soon after we sat down, we were greeted by the very cheery Food and Beverage Manager (um…) Vincent, who wished us happy eating and told us not to hesitate to give him any feedback. This was nice. Alas, we never saw him again.
We Crackerlngs like to take wine with us to restaurants. It’s not so much that we’re cheap: more that restaurants charge a ridiculous mark up on their wine. We took a pretty fancy bottle of red that we’d been saving and the (grouchy) waitress opened it for us. She came back about five minutes later and told me that they were charging corkage of R80 (burn!). That’s a bit ridiculous compared to other spots in Cape Town, and it would have been better to have told us before they opened the bottle. It’s interesting though that their web site says “As we have a extensive wine list we have a NO Corkage Policy at Pure.”
The menu is a bit schizophrenic. It’s part bistro, part steakhouse, but doesn’t quite hit the mark for either. The scores, then.