Quaglino’s in Mouille Point reviewed
Another founding of the Caveau Group sits on Mouille Point Beach Road, this one called Quaglino’s. With a fairly original, hard-to-categorise style of menu. The restaurant offers a relaxed yet slightly swanky environment matching its surroundings. The glass facade of sliding doors brings the crisp sea air straight into the restaurant anchoring you right on the promenade.
A fairly mild buzz filled the Tuesday lunch seating in the contemporary classique setting with finishes of turquoise and gold, as well as natural wood. A Velvety turquoise couch, gold trimmed plates on the wall and raw leather and steal chairs create contrasting themes that mesh well together and allow the place to alternate from day to night. Above you hang standard exposed light bulbs amongst a general wash of grey.
The restaurant has been separated into a dining area, bar area and a kind of work station for those with laptops. They really have accommodated for any kind of diner as the space and the menu allow you to tailor your experience to your needs.
The menu is a large one where starters can be made into mains and vice versa. They have sandwiches, steak tartare, curry, European inspired seafood and meat dishes, and other tidbits that leave you feeling rather indecisive. Usually a menu of this scale is quite daunting but I really liked the fact that if you felt like a more casual lunch you’re able to keep the lavish at a minimum.
But we were here for Quanglino’s highlights, so fancy all the way! The deep-fried squid was recommended which we shared as a starter. A Spanish inspired dish of squid stuffed with chorizo and pine nuts, garnished with rocket and tangy mustard dressing. The dish was slightly more crunch than squid, the batter taking over the seafood but it didn’t mar the distinct flavours of the pine nuts and chorizo. It was enjoyable overall, however the squid did get slightly lost.
Ravenously I kept peering over my shoulder for mains which took their time. But thankfully were worth the wait. Seared Norwegian Salmon with a warm potato salad and the other a medium rare fillet served with shoestring fries and Bordelaise sauce, although the Bordelaise sauce wasn’t available so we got Café de Paris butter. The steak could not be faulted, cooked precisely medium rare and the buttery sauce was a perfectly suitable substitute and great with the fries.
My plate of Norwegian salmon arrived with an oversized portion of warm potato salad, albeit a perfect flavour enhancer for the fish. It made the meal look slightly cumbersome, and the fish certainly didn’t require any compensation. The salmon was perfectly flaky, cooked medium, how I like it, and the tangy mayonnaise type sauce, with the specks of chives and red onion, worked terrifically well with the dish. This is exactly the kind of meal you imagine eating by the seaside as you sip your Chardonnay and pretend you’re in holiday mode.
With the heat in full swing there was no other choice but to go for ice cream to finish things off. The ice cream fridge is also staring you right in the face as you walk in, so it doesn’t drift too far from your mind throughout the meal. Sorbetiere provide the ice cream selection, a brand I recognised but I hadn’t yet sampled.
Salted caramel and vanilla (why?) were the flavours myself and my lunch date ordered, respectively. Sorbetiere have got it down. Both ice creams, yes even the vanilla, were both rich in flavour, real flavour that is. There was nothing artificial about our scoops. And this was reaffirmed by the teeny black spots in the vanilla. “You’ve gotta always order the vanilla” he said. And I guess he’s right, vanilla is a good test because ice cream is often masked by overly sweet additives.
With a couple of tweaks here and there, Quaglino’s has a fighting chance at becoming one of the stand-outs on the strip. Everything is in its favour – the view, the variety in its menu suiting Cape Town’s tall orders and a breathable voguish setting. Our waiter was also honest, open and professional adding to the overall pleasurable experience of Quaglino’s. No doubt I will be back sometime this Summer.
Food24 was hosted by Quaglino’s.