I was excited to find out that Pearl Spoon had opened a second halaal restaurant. And was even more delighted when they invited me for a meal to come and experience their new venture into fine dining. The original Pearl Spoon on Belvedere Road in Claremont is a chic, sophisticated venue that serves breakfast and lunch. The new branch in Observatory, aptly named Pearl Spoon on Obz, focuses only on dinner. The 3 Deedat siblings, Shane, Jodi and Haley who co own and run the Claremont branch dashes over every evening to set up and run this new dinner venue into the late hours.
The ambiance is trendy but cultured and at first seems incongruous in the Observatory Lower Main Road setting. But when you consider the revamping that is happening in this area and the trend to boho chic, it would appear quite fitting. The Restaurant has a great side view of Table Mountain if you can overlook the KFC that interrupts the eyeline. The decor is simple and stylish with comfortable dining chairs and solid wooden tables unadorned except for balloon glasses and quality silverware at the ready. The open plan kitchen is a great feature and does not interrupt with excessive noise. It’s not very big so it feels quite intimate but I imagine they could get booked up quite quickly on a busy weekend.
We were there on a not so busy night partly I assume because they are still so new and not many people know about it yet. So service was excellent, attentive and efficient. We tried a mezze platter which comes with flatbread served with four different accompaniments, Hummus, Harissa, Guacamole and the most delicious garlicky marinated olives. Be warned, it’s enough for 4 people as a starter and was way too much for the two of us.
We were also offered a tasting platter of some of the other starters. I had seen a crumbed mushroom starter on the menu and was surprised that they would offer such a typical dish but it’s anything but in the way it is served. A single giant brown mushroom crumbed and served on a bed of corn salsa topped with rocket, a definite winner along with a creamy shrimp cocktail and crumbed prawns with sweet chilli. Along with the signature mocktails, exceptional presentation would set the tone for the entire meal.
Our mains were a Thai inspired crayfish curry served with savoury rice. The delicate flavours of lemongrass and coconut made it quite unlike the typical flavours of an Indian crayfish curry. Delicious in it’s own right. I had the sirloin steak medium to well, on a bed of stir fried veg and mash potatoes. My steak was beautifully presented in a stacked layer of thin cutlets rather than the usual slab. But it was a bit past the medium to well and I found it a bit dry. Upon my commenting I was offered a replacement but I opted to have it rather than send it back. The portion was generous and I did not see myself finishing it all anyway. With very little room left for dessert we opted to share a lemon cheesecake which was light and moussy. And a couple of esspressos finished it off perfectly.
Prices are surprisingly reasonable with starters in the R50 to R70 range and mains at R100 to R180. Dessert in the R40 to R50 range. It’s a great place for a celebration or a date. There are simple options like burgers on the menu as well so if you want to take the kids you could. It’s not really kid friendly though in the way of a Spur for instance. The facilities are neat, clean and functional but could use some glamming up to keep with the theme.
There are very few fine dining restaurants in Cape Town that are fully halaal. Pearl Spoon on Obz does it in a relaxed, and comfortable way. It’s a definite do again for me.
Dinner, Fine Dining,
Medium | R100 - R300, Pricey | R300 - R600,