And it’s day 3 of restaurant week, my day today is split between 2 restaurants. Lunch at Societi Bistro and dinner at the voted most popular Buitenverwachting.
I’ve been feeling a little under the weather, so I’m definitely looking for food to cheer me up. It’s not helping that the weather is a bit cool today.
Directions and Findability
I knew where this restaurant was, as I used to drive past here quite a lot as a student. But I still checked out the directions on the website and they were pretty comprehensive, with a clearly layed out map and landmarks. There’s also big signage that’s visible when you drive past, and drive past i did, 3 times looking for parking. So a few points for good directions and good findability, but points lost for not having designated parking for their patrons.
The venue/ location
It’s located, right in hussle and bustle part of the CBD, a few meters from the famous Longstreet.
This restaurant seats about 100 people. As I walk in, it looks a little dark but warm. I’m seated at my table in the corner and Michael Bubble serenades me with one of his beautiful melodies. I’m the first in for lunch but soon flocks of people walk in.
So far everything is going well until I’m given the menu and its the everyday menu. I ask my waiter if they’re not showcasing their best food especially for Restaurant week and he seems to be clueless about what restaurant week is. He has to go to the back and ask, what this is and if they’re participating. Points lost, instantly. And he comes back with an unsatisfactory response ‘it’s the same menu’ nothing special for restaurant week. I’m not one for confrontations, so I choose to let this go. At this point I’m not sure what my bill will come up to, their exuberant prices or the set restaurant week price.
This was the advertised menu:
Zuppa di Pesce
tomato based fish soup
beef brisket, red wine, bacon lardons, mashed potato
I’m a little p’d off at this point but I don’t want to ruin my appetite. I’m just starting to doubt the 4 1/2 stars! This is not only disorganized but unprofessional as well.
I look at the wine menu and do a double take. They have wines costing R12! There’s a lot wrong with this picture. When I enquire, it’s the result of fostering good relationships with wine makers in Cape Town. But I’m not sure I would choose that cheap of a wine with my meal, I’m suspicious they’re this cheap because they’re bad. But my waiter, noting my skeptism offers me a tasting of the cheapies. KWV Concordia, Place in the Sun and Astronaut. All white, all locally made, and all not to my palate.
I should’ve known better, any wine in the same category as Overmeer wines by definition can’t be good, my opinion of course. From where I come from Overmeer is drank by people who drink wine for the alcohol, not the wine and they’re usually homeless. No offence intended to Overmeer wines. I went for a sparkling wine with my starter: Kaapse Vonkel brut, also cheaper than usual at R36 but I know and like it. For mains, I went for my tried, tested and approved by my palate, La motte Sauvignon blanc.
They also have 3 beers on tap, the local Mitchell’s brand.
The menu has a few options, pretty much for everybody. But nothing special.
My starters: Tuna tartare with jalapeños at R72, with a few other options not really appealing to my taste buds such as bruschetta with wild mushrooms; carrot, ginger and honey soup; zuppa di pesce; pancetta & asparagus salad.
The tuna is lovely, smooth on my tongue, perfectly prepared. But the dish is very monotonous. Just the fresh rich tuna and no other tones. I’m not sure I’m meant to eat the tuna with the jalapeño slices or they’re just garnish and I don’t want to destroy my taste buds before my mains. This would’ve benefitted from an addition of something crunchy and a vinaigrette of some sort to cut through the richness of the tuna. But very good produce.
Mains: Dorado with pea & mint risotto- coming in at R138.00. This was one of the specials of the day. And the verdict; well presented, the fish is beautifully cooked, crisp on the outside, moist on the inside. But poorly seasoned. And quite honestly, if they only served me the fish, this meal would’ve been great.
The risotto, or supposed risotto, I could not even taste. It was so overwhelmed by the raw and therefore bitter peas. As for the mint, there was no physical or taste evidence of it. Quite disappointing, actually.
Impressively good, other then the lack of awareness of the restaurant’s participation in restaurant week. My waiter Dominic was good, I enjoyed the effort of offering a mini wine tasting. He was attentive, friendly, answered all my curious questions. and as it turns out he’s my homeboy as well. He is also from my small town up the East coast of South Africa, Richards Bay. What are the chances, meeting my homeys as my waiters 2 days in the row.
My bill R283.00 instead of R168.00( food and drinks). Not impressed. As much as service and ambience were good, the restaurant not knowing they’re participating in restaurant week where they’d be reviewed, ruined the experience for me. I can’t really forgive that.
- Findability/ parking = 5/10 because I had to park illegally.
The venue/ location= 6/10
The drinks = 7/10 As much as I appreciate cheap wine, I don’t appreciate bad cheap wine.
The food: Starters = 7/10. Mains = 5/10
The service = 8/10
The overall experience = 3/10
TOTAL SCORE = 41/70. Average= 5,8/10
I had high hopes for this establishment and I’m walking away disappointed, can’t even be bothered to take a selfie! I should’ve stayed in bed or chosen another restaurant.
Pics’ quality were compromised by the dark interior.
Hopefully tonight, at Buitenverwachting, my day will improve.