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Dalliance at the V & A Waterfront: review

Our food editor gives the low-down on the waterfront's new tapas bar and restaurant.

by: Tessa Purdon | 25 Jan 2016

When a new restaurant opens at the V & A Waterfront, I often turn a blind eye because to me, mall restaurants always seem to have a chaotic, “rushed” kind of energy that makes you feel as if you’re paying by the minute to be there.

Enter Dalliance by The Kove Collection. The restaurant (Dalliance meaning “little love affair”) has opened close to the Adidas store, in the space that Solera used to occupy in what’s termed “the golden mile” of the shopping mall. I was pleasantly surprised to find it a) not over-priced like Waterfront restaurants tend to be and b) not chaotic. What’s more – the food tastes fantastic!

As opposed to many of the other restaurants at the V & A that are lucky to have views of Table Mountain and the harbour, Dalliance overlooks the calming, still waters of the Atlantic that reach out to Robben Island. A real contrast to the bustling mall and nicely tucked away. In fact – you need to walk through the front of the restaurant to see and enjoy this aspect of it which isn’t altogether visible from the entrance.

The concept

Unlike many of The Kove Collection’s other establishments (5 Rooms, The Bungalow, Pepenero, Paranga, The Rose Bar), Dalliance’s food is meant to be enjoyed tapas style and the big paper menu that greets you on arrival makes it very user-friendly and easy to choose from.

The 4 sections are named with the following headings: “seafood”, “meats”, “vegetarian” and “sweets”. Like any good tapas menu, the decision-making process is always difficult and I always try and choose as much variety as I can while also considering how full I might get. Always a strategic task!

Within the drinks section you can find a selection of craft beers, cocktails and wine (I was disappointed to see that there were so few classic cocktails but the wine list made up for that!). 27 wines are available with each one offered in either 100ml glass, 250ml carafe or 750ml bottle. I think it’s a genius idea and one that I wish more restaurants and bars incorporated. It really allows the flexibility to try a few different varieties and styles and pair them each with whichever dish you’ve chosen. It also means you don’t get bored drinking the same wine throughout your meal.

Tapas time

Under the “seafood” section I chose garlic prawns (R95) and dukkah spiced tuna (R70). The prawns were well-cooked and arrived in simple but lip-smacking chilli, olive oil and fresh herb sauce. The tuna was a real winner – with punchy exotic North African flavours in every mouthful and a side serving of harissa sauce taking it to the next level. I scraped the bowl clean.

A special on the night that I went was baby kingklip (R100) with skinny fries and a small salad. The portion was very generous and I would definitely go back and order this beauty again. The fish was cooked and seasoned to absolute perfection. I’m salivating just thinking about it. Other items to tempt you if you’re a seafood lover are: salmon tataki, kingklip tempura and oysters with pear, ginger, coconut, soy and chilli.

Under “Meats” – you will find beef short rib with mushroom duxelles and bone marrow gratin (R65), beef fillet with Bearnaise and skinny fries, chicken wings (R55), butter chicken (R55) and lamb chops (R100).

I went with the fillet and Bearnaise (R90) which was magnificent. I always find Bearnaise sauce to be very hit-and-miss these days but Dalliance has it right! The meat was tender and juicy but just lacked a little bit of flavour. Sadly I didn’t get the chance to find out the beef’s provenance.

For dessert – if you have the space, I recommend you try the baked pineapple cheesecake with pineapple ice cream (R60). Fresh and Summery without being overly sweet. Other items that might tickle your fancy include chocolate marshmallows with mango and peanut butter, iced nougat, coconut vanilla rice pudding with hot mini doughnuts (R50) and chocolate beignets (R60).

Best for:

- A bite to eat before or after catching a movie at the cinema.
- A catch up with a friend over a drink.
- A quick lunch while shopping.

Tessa Purdon was invited to Dalliance as their guest.

- Tessa Purdon


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