Restaurant Week review: Stella Cafe/ Bar @ The Cullinan Hotel.
The Cullinan Hotel, part of the Tsogo Sun/ Southern Sun group is one of the prestigious hotels in Cape Town. Located at the V&A Waterfront geographically and in Cape Town City visually, it’s one of the hotels in our metropolitan where the ‘who’s Who’ stay at. From international stars, sportsmen and women to global Political Giants.
This hotel has 2 dining areas, the dining room that does breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets. And Stella cafe/bar that does tapas, good wine menu in a relaxed environment alongside the pool.
This restaurant has only been open for 7 months as I later found out. But with my high expectations from my previous experiences with one of my favorite Tsogo Sun hotel restaurants, I can’t wait. Tapas menu with a good wine menu apparently.
Location: located close to the waterfront, in town. The Restaurant is located at the centre of the hotel on the ground floor, so other than the pool, there’s no views.
Findability: Very easy to find, right as you enter town from all major roads. If you’re out of town, you’d probably struggle finding it, it’s not very well labeled. For years I knew about the hotel but didn’t know where it was, even though I’d driven past it countless times.
Service: Very welcoming, friendly and warm. It was quite busy, so service was slow at times. But the manager more than picked up the slack.
Food & drinks: The Ala carte menu looks basic; tapas, nothing too exciting. No show stopper really, I can’t help but feel disappointed. The restaurant week menu is even worse, only limited to one option, well they’re not given an option really. Set 3 course meal.
Parsnip risotto, walnuts, cider and horseradish cream served for starters, which was absolutely beautifully cooked, creamy with flavours out of this world. The apple freshens the risotto up and adds the needed variation of texture. Best risotto I’ve ever had. I’m inspired to try replicate this at home!
Mains: BBQ sirloin with purple cabbage, orange carrot served with chips but exotically named ‘point neuf’ after a bridge in France. My steak comes back medium instead of the requested medium rare. The manager sees the displeasure on my face as I try not complain. She insists on taking it back to the kitchen and giving me a perfectly prepared steak, which I get. The steak is beautifully succulent, soft and delicious. I’m not one for chips, so I don’t even bother.
Dessert is caramelized pineapple with homemade vanilla coconut ice cream and cashew brittle. It is so delicious, I cannot get enough. I want more! That ice cream is smooth and creamy. I feel like I’ve possibly died, gone to heaven, and came back again.
Affordability/Value for Money: Surprisingly and amazingly good. Average dessert price is R32.
Service: The attention to detail was amazing. How the manager read my facial expressions and saw I wasn’t happy with my steak was amazing. It’s been a while since I’ve recieved such great service. Well done to the Stella team!👍🏾
Ambience: This is dependent on what ambience you’re looking for. As much as the food was good, it’s not a fine dining restaurant. Which was the expectation from our part. It’s more lets go grab some beer and food restaurant, it’s more a bar with food than restaurant with a bar. I was definitely overdressed! But everyone was relaxed and happy, which was infectious and well-appreciated.
Overall experience: 8,5/10. It was a great evening, not what I expected, but the food and the service more than made up for it. Such a little treasure, very pleasant surprise.
Will definitely be back! The attention to detail was impressive.
My husband wants to go back for the Turkish delight cheese cake – having never heard of such a dessert before.