Food24 eats at... The Square

Little Britain at The Square.

by: Cathy Marston

Hurrah for British food! Gone are the days of over-boiled cabbage and thin, watery stews, Cool Britannia cuisine is all the rage at the moment and British chefs are taking over the world.

Not the least example of this is right here in Cape Town at The Square restaurant at The Vineyard Hotel in Newlands where not only are the Executive Chef and the Senior Sous Chef both British, but they’re both called Alex to boot! So when they invited me to come and try their British menu (in honour of the Royal Wedding), I was no Waity Katie and hotfooted it down there at once
The Setting

The Vineyard has possibly the most beautiful setting of any hotel in Cape Town. Lush gardens populated by giant tortoises, winding pathways and heart-lifting mountain views, mean you could easily spend your entire stay in the hotel and never venture anywhere else.

The Square Restaurant almost, but not quite, opens out onto the stoep so you can enjoy those views, but it’s a big airy space slap-bang in front of you when you enter the hotel. Elegant furniture, nice table linen, groovy light fittings – yes, it’s a little hotel-y, but still got plenty of style. Only nitpick is the salt and pepper shakers on the table – if a restaurant is going to take its food seriously, I think it ought to have proper black pepper grinders.
The Food

We were there to try out the British menu but their normal a la carte looked pretty tasty as well – perhaps we’ll be back for more. We started with some darned fine fishcakes on minted peas – nice hint of chilli in the cakes and a really big portion for starters – a side order of chunky chips and that would easily have done for a main course.

We then moved onto Pork Belly with Spring onion mash and apple and quince puree which was a lovely dish of succulent, sweet meat topped with cute little crackling bows – very clever.

The menu changes every week, so Kevin tried next week’s main of Beef Wellington served with lurid and luscious beetroot mash – the pastry was crisp and the beef cooked to a pleasing, matching pink.

We both felt dessert missed the spot slightly, but it could easily be a personal thing. I’m a huge lover of Treacle Tart and this was a bit dense and dry and not treacly enough for my taste, but the presentation was lovely and the clotted cream ice cream was plate-lickingly good.
The Wine

The Square has a huge wine list, its own sommelier, Gregory Mutambe, and a wineloving restaurant manager in David Wibberley, so unsurprisingly, there were some great choices.

Plenty of options by the glass, lots of inexpensive wines, lots of expensive ones too including some Cape Winemakers’ Guild Auction wines.

Nice glassware, wines served at correct temperatures – you can easily see why The Vineyard is claiming to be the wine-iest hotel in town!
The Prices

The British menu of three courses costs a good-value R170 or R140 for two courses.

Next month’s theme is ‘Feel Good Food’ ie comfort food classics, followed by 170km menu in June where all ingredients will be sourced from less than 170km away from the hotel.
Perfect for

A cosy winter supper with friends or family – there were plenty of kids there on the night and they offer a great kids menu for them as well.

The Square was reviewed by Cathy Marston, follow her on twitter.

Read more on: food24 eats at  |  cathy marston  |  review

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