When news broke that Abigail Bisogno of the outrageously successful Spice Route, and partner GP Singh, were opening a ‘hybrid concept store’ and restaurant in the shadow of Zeitz MOCAA, it was greeted with widespread excitement. But how does it all taste? Amelia Brown reviews The Yard.
Address: Silo 4, Silo District, V&A Waterfront
Contact: 082 945 4686
Opening times: Mon-Fri 7.30 am – 10 pm; Sat 8am–10pm; Sun 08am–3pm
Average price main course: R150. (Main course prices range quite dramatically from R95 for a vegetarian pasta to R280 for the rack of lamb)
Food type: Indian, Mediterranean and European
Star ratings: Food 3, service 3, ambience 3
Mediterranean, Indian, Oriental, and Middle Eastern antipasti platters for two to 12 set the tone for the menu’s broad influences. This sociable fare also promotes easy-going afterwork libations, as does the accessible drinks menu and marble-topped central bar.
The menu’s Indian slant is thanks to co-owner, restaurateur GP Singh, who hails from Punjab. For the main course, paneer, dals, tandoori chicken and mutton roganjosh sit alongside Kingklip en papillotte, Thai curry, and Tuscan summer gnocchi, the last being one of the many vegetarian offerings available. While the dosas look tempting, they are sadly only available at lunchtime.
There aren’t any starters (aside from the platters to share) and only a few salads, so fair-sized main courses, with plenty of light and inexpensive vegetarian options, leave room for one of the delicious desserts. The Yard is likely to become popular for its Indian offering. The mutton rogan josh is tender with a good, complex spice profile. In a completely different direction, the pretty Tuscan summer gnocchi is soft and pillowy, with al dente seasonal veg drenched in a rich, creamy sauce.
Dessert once more reveals the fusion. There’s a slow-baked dark chocolate fondant; white chocolate and granadilla cheesecake; the “Yard Mess”, featuring coconut brûlée, passion fruit meringues and tandoori pineapple; a subtly-spiced masala chai brûlée; and a selection of homemade ice creams and kulfi. The ice-creams were a little underwhelming, and the masala crème brûlée is really very subtly spiced, but the custard was smooth and creamy.
Overall, the food is good, though it’s early days yet and perhaps too soon to pronounce final judgement. The setting, snacks and well-priced wines (most expensive bottle of red R180) plus red and white wine by the tap for R40 per glass make it ideal for after work drinks.
In addition to the reasonably-priced wines, which are exclusively from Spice Route (Abigail Bisogno of Spice Route is the other partner) and Fairview, you’ll find classic cocktails, including a few signatures with a twist, beers, craft beer on tap from CBC (Cape Brewing Company), and spirits.
Friendly and sincere. The intention is affordable luxury.
This is urban-industrial chic. Much like the menu, the space is a melding: The restaurant, with its cool, tan-leather booths, utilitarian track lighting and walls decorated with altering contemporary art for sale, is on one end, with the kitchen visible towards the back; the bar is in the middle, with the deli, coffee counter – serving and selling Rosetta Roastery coffee – and retail store on the other end. Here you’ll find the fresh, fast takeaway options, the daily buffet and everything from local homeware, clothes and craft to fresh produce such as chocolates, home-made pasta, charcuterie and cheeses.
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