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
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
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.
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,
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.
has a huge wine list, its own sommelier, Gregory Mutambe, and a wineloving
restaurant manager in David Wibberley, so unsurprisingly, there were some great
Plenty of options by the glass, lots of inexpensive wines, lots of
expensive ones too including some Cape Winemakers’ Guild Auction wines.
glassware, wines served at correct temperatures – you can easily see why The
Vineyard is claiming to be the wine-iest hotel in town!
menu of three courses costs a good-value R170 or R140 for two courses.
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.
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.