Fine dining is not high on the list of options for halaal restaurants in Cape Town and the 126 Cape Kitchen and Café is one of the few places that caters for it. So when I learned they had launched a brand new menu after their innovative revamp last year I was chomping at the bit to find out if it lived up to its predecessor.
Last year the Hilton Cape Town closed down the Bistro 126 and Mezbaan restaurants to make room for the elegant 126 Cape Kitchen and Café. Launching with an exciting and innovative menu that paired signature local teas with dishes of a variety of culinary styles they managed to wow local foodies. The kitchen has since had a re-shuffle and a new head chef has come on board. This has also culminated in a new menu for the new season.
We cashed in our date night coupon last month and hubby and I headed for a culinary treat one mid week evening. We were received and seated with efficient grace by our host in the softly lit restaurant. I love the décor. It’s plush without being gaudy or over the top. The trellis screens add a stylish design touch that is reflective of the asian and eastern influence on the menu without being too obvious. There are also grills available with a definite South African touch.
Chef Lyle came out to chat to us while we perused the new menu and made a few recommendations. We chose a Carrot and Ginger Soup at R60 for me and the slow braised oxtail terrine at R115 for him. Both dishes were quite large for starters and could easily serve as light lunches. The flavor of the soup was light and mild but I chose not to finish the large portion as I would need to be rolled out of the restaurant later on. The oxtail terrine was delicious and was served with buttered brioche, black garlic, charred cauliflower, purée, parsley coulis, apple chutney and shaved tender-stem broccoli. Just reading that again makes me want to go back and order it.
Carrot and ginger soup. Light in flavour, big in portion size.
The oxtail terrine was a feast of flavours and textures.
After the rich start a we needed a little breather before our mains. Served on their signature stoneware developed locally for the restaurant, mains for him was the rib eye with Cape Dukka rub, seasonal veg and a tikka sauce at R220 for R300g. The dukka spice was an aromatic accompaniment to the perfectly done meat. There was the option of having fries but who wants fries when the veg just looks so perfect.
I opted for the lamb shank at R225, a dish I had never tried before. Don’t judge me… Every foodie has a few things they haven’t covered yet. I was a bit astounded at the size of it but tucked in nevertheless. The slow braised lamb shank came with minted pea puree, crisp pea shoots, buttered heirloom carrots, rooibos tea smoked mash and brown onion gravy. The combination of flavours could almost take your breath away. And the lamb was so tender it literally melted in my mouth. I adored the pea puree and the yellow and purple heirloom carrots.
The Spiced Dukkah rub really impressed.
The minted pea puree with this lamb shank was next level.
A slight coma was descending and dessert was not an option at this stage; but chef offered us a small tasting platter to share. It consisted of a koeksister, gluten free brownie with candied orange peel and peppermint tart. All delicious especially the koeksister, which was moist without being oily or syrupy with just the right amount of spice.
They are open for dinner every day from 6pm to 10.30pm and for lunch as well with Burgers and Tramezzinis added as part of their lunch menu. I would recommend 126 Cape Kitchen and Café for a relaxed and intimate dinner. Great for date nights or elegant celebrations. Leave the kids at home and treat yo’self.
Read about the 126 Cape Kitchen and Cafe Cape Town Cycle Tour Pasta Buffet.
Find more details about 126 Cape Kitchen and Cafe here.