Enjoy the tastes of India at the elegant 126 Cape Kitchen & Café with their delicious Discover India promotion. Enjoy a sharing experience which includes a welcome drink, table starters, 4 main dishes and dessert for R395 per person.
Scroll down to read our review of this menu.
A mere one-minute walk away from the infamous colourful houses of Bo Kaap is the Hyatt Regency Hotel, home to 126 Cape Kitchen & Café.
The restaurant is trendy with stylish decor made from high end materials yet it is simple and cosy. The lines, shapes and screens used lends itself to a modern Moroccan-like feel. It could do with a little better lighting but it all adds to the experience as the overall ambience leans towards classy and fine dining. The menu is a combination of Cape Malay and Indian cuisine. They draw their inspiration from the fact that they are so close to Bo Kaap and this of course is food iconic to that community.
We were treated to their Discover India Dinner Promotion. Upon arrival we received a glass of Mango Lassi, a refreshing glass of goodness. Lassi helps with digestion and prevents bloating so I guess they were preparing us for the spread that was to come.
Starters were an Aloo Chana Chaat which is a roasted potato and chickpea salad and a Kachomer Salad of chopped tomato, onion and cucumber. Both these are served with a tamarind and mint chutney and poppadoms. I have to say I preferred the Aloo Chana Chaat as the flavours were very well balanced and kind of exploded in your mouth.
For mains we chose four main meals to share. After some deliberation, we settled on Peshawri Palao, Chicken Tikka Grill, Pakistani Beef Nihari and Dhal Chana Tarka. These are served with Pakistani Roti and butter naan on the side.
The Peshawri Palao looked a lot like Akhni (accept for the raisins) but tastes nothing like it. It is braised lamb and rice and is cooked in nothing else but bone broth with no spices. It may be mild in taste, but you get the full flavour of the lamb coming through with each bite. The raisins on top give you bursts of sweetness. The dish is served with dried-fruit raita. We half expected it to be overly sweet but it was not. I have to say that this dish, although simple looking, was surprisingly our favourite.
The Chicken Tikka Grill was juicy and tasty. The mint sauce served on the side was not overpowering and complimented the tikka beautifully. The chicken itself was cooked perfectly and broke apart with ease. I loved the fact that unlike many other tikka grills I have had before; this was not dry.
The Pakistani Beef Nihari was probably our least favourite dish for the evening. It was a little too peppery and tasted more like the filling of a pepper steak pie. However, the beef was cooked perfectly. I have not had beef that has been cooked that tender in a while. Every morsel of beef literally melted in your mouth.
The last dish was the Dhal Chana Tarka. This dish left me feeling nostalgic as it reminded me of my mom’s cooking. It is yellow dhal cooked in a tomato base with spices. It comes with thin slices of grated ginger so your tongue gets a tangy surprise with every other bite.
All in all, the food was good. The dishes all complimented each other and stood well on its own too. The portions were more than sufficient for two people sharing. In fact, even after having seconds, there was still left-overs.
Just when you thought you could not eat anymore, desserts were served. The dessert menu comprised of three desserts to share. The first was Sheer Kurma. When I heard this, I immediately thought of Eid Milk. This however is not as thin and runny as the one we’re used to. It has a lot more roasted vermicelli and has dried-fruit in it. It is also loaded with a variety of nuts and is not too sweet. It made for a good after-dinner drink/dessert.
The second dessert was a Shai Tukra. This is an Indian bread pudding. Slices of bread are cut into triangles, buttered and then fried. It is served in a sweetened milk mixture that has been cooked until thickened and is delightfully rich. I could easily eat the milk mixture on its own.
Lastly, and definitely my favourite was the Kheer. A dessert made of full cream milk, crushed long grain rice and dried-fruit, spiced with cardamom and served with crushed pistachios. It is royally luxurious, not too sweet and can best be described as a delicious old fashioned dessert.
We are in the throes of a pandemic and it is reassuring to see that 126 Cape Kitchen and Cafe have taken every precaution to ensure their patrons’ safety from socially distanced tables to having individual hand sanitiser bottles per table. Staff members are never seen without a mask and you will see them sanitising often.
With a smart casual dress code in place, dressing up for the occasion felt good. The overall experience was pleasant and enjoyable. The Hyatt is perfectly located so navigating traffic into the Bo Kaap area was not an issue. The food met almost all expectations. The restaurant ambience including the décor, the seating and the music were all very inviting. The service received from our waiter is rated 5 stars. He was very friendly and attentive. The maitre’d was inviting and ensured we had a pleasant experience and even the chef came out to check on us and was more than willing to explain each dish in detail.
The Discover India Dinner Menu is a promotion and costs R395 per person. Breakfast is ala carte and served till 10.30am. Meals from their All Day Dining menu which include salads, burgers, grills, Indian and Cape Malay options starts from R165 upwards.
126 Cape Kitchen and Café is recommended for an intimate experience. With a few tables that are slightly secluded, it makes for a good place to enjoy date-night with your significant other. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend that you take small kids along. With dim lights and no entertainment, it is not the place that your kids would most likely enjoy. However, it could work well as a venue if you are planning a small party (post lockdown of course) or just want to spoil the people in your life.
The Full Menu:
This experience was by invitation from the restaurant.
By Munira Allie
Project Manager by day, everything else all of the time. A wannabe baker and passionate chef who loves an adrenalin rush cos it makes me feel most alive. I love fast cars and daydream about superbikes. I have a predilection for all things nature and love capturing the Almighty’s majestic beauty even more. If I had a statement to describe my life it would be “she turned her can’t into can and her dreams into plans”.