On the square restaurant at the Capetonian hotel could easily be known as the doyen of the halaal restaurant scene in Cape Town being one of the first if not the first hotel restaurant to be fully halaal. So why have I not visited there before? Well, the one time I did go, they were fully booked and I just may have been too hungry to wait for a table. Perhaps I should add that I showed up without a reservation.
The restaurant is headed by Executive Chef Anwar Henkeman who has been with the hotel for more than 6 years. They are known for being a destination buffet restaurant with regular Sunday buffets and special buffets for Eid and other celebration days. Their a la carte offering is not that well known. Chef Anwar has given it a new spin and I was fortunate to be invited to sample their new a la carte menu. It being a dinner reservation we were happy to be able to avoid the daytime congestion of the CBD, and parking was ample on Heerengracht street outside the hotel. There is also parking available behind the hotel on Roggebaai Square.
The small foyer before you enter the restaurant with it’s deep red carpet, blue and white armchairs and animal paintings on the wall has a definite colonial feel to it. This is quite different to the restaurant itself, which is much bigger that I expected. Tiled in white floors and white walls give it a feeling of vastness. One wall is accented with a printed green wallpaper which lends a more contemporary feel. I felt the space in this restaurant as there were few tables occupied, mainly with hotel guests and one large family group enjoying the buffet, which had a good variety of dishes in spite of it being the middle of the week. We took a table at the floor to ceiling window, which literally lines one whole wall of the restaurant. I could imagine sitting here during the day and just people-watching over the busy square outside.
Our lovely waitress was attentive and friendly but had to refer back to the kitchen when I asked for recommendations. We opted for the Cream of Spinach soup and the Grilled Mushrooms to start with. No mocktails on the menu so we went for Appletisers. We were presented with a basket of warm bread rolls and butter before our starters came. The portions were quite big for starters and I was glad I didn’t overdo it on the rolls. The soup was simple and well flavoured but I chose not to finish it as I wanted to enjoy my main as well. The mushroom starter was really good with a lovely garlicky flavor, the salad in particular, fresh with a tangy dressing.
Our mains came shortly after, a Lemon and trio of herb Crusted Salmon served with a Dill Cream at R145 and the Surf and Turf which comes with a 250g Sirloin Steak, Cajun Calamari and Prawns for R225. I was expecting a crusted salmon steak but this dish was prepared with smoked salmon which for me was a little disappointing as the flavours are quite different. I feel the menu should have been more clear that it was smoked salmon and not a salmon steak. The salmon was artfully served atop a round of garlic bread surrounded by vegetables in a dill cream. The flavor in the dill cream smothered vegetables was quite good. Dill can be very subtle but the sauce had a nice pepperiness for heat. The steak was well done and perfectly cooked without being dry. This too was a large portion which left us too full for dessert.
But we decided we could not round off the meal until we had tried something “dolci” so we chose to share a Meringue nest with berries and Chantilly cream at R65. This was a perfect end to a heavy meal. The lightness of the meringue and tartness of the berries were easy on the palate and not overly sweet. The coffees that accompanied it were just perfect. I would pop in here just for the cappucino.
The menu includes dishes like Moules Marinieres (Mussels in Garlic and Cream) where anywhere else it would be prepared with white wine. Here you can have the wine free version and I’d like to go back to try it. The recommended dishes are the grills from R175 for the Lamb Chops and seafood platters from R165 which if our portion sizes were anything to go by will be generous. They also have some vegetarian dishes and Indian curries on the menu. Desserts start at R52 for sliced fruits with Ice cream to R85 for a cheese plate.
The restaurant is showing it’s age a bit and could use a modern makeover. I would take my parents there and it’s a good option for large celebrations as the buffet is great value at R225 per person and offers an even bigger variety on the weekends. There is great potential at this venue. I would love to see them add some modern touches to also attract a younger market.
The current Buffet menu’s pricing as below are until 30 September 2017:
Breakfast daily: R155.00 pp between 09h00 to 11h00
Monday to Thursday dinner: R175.00 pp between 18h30 to 22h30
Friday dinner: R185.00 pp between 18h30 to 22h30 between 18h30 to 22h30
Saturday lunch & dinner: R215.00 pp between 12h30 to 14h30
Sunday lunch & dinner: R175.00 pp between 12h30 to 14h30
Updated: 10 August 2017
Breakfast, Buffet, Dinner, Functions, Lunch,
Medium | R100 - R300, Pricey | R300 - R600,