Flames cannot be compared to the fine dining, haute cuisine View or even to Preview, which is mostly tapas-sized dishes to go with drinks, but is friendly and efficient and does the general meal job, with some particularly nice flourishes.
For starters there is a small selection of items, including salmon cured with apple and fennel, spiked with lime and served with rye. However there are also interesting salads like a stunning ribbons-of-vegetable salad complete with a poached egg and a memorable, fresh green dressing.
The winter fondues look like fun options, for couples and small groups and range from the Swiss cheese kind, though beef sorts, to a Chinese shellfish one. Steaks and burgers are cited as recommendations, the aged meats of admirable quality, like the Black Angus grass-fed sirloin and a Kalahari rump but neither matched by sufficient care in their treatment. Rare is medium and medium well done, though moist from the seasoned butter and the roasted vegetables good, the crushed potato great, golden-crispy on the edges.
For dessert a pretty good crème brulee is made even more toothsome with rich lemon curd and there is an excellent range of sorbets, including a fig and yoghurt one, also a beautiful presentation.
Vegans and vegetarians will find good options on the menu too. However, there are better value-for money options in the nearby vicinities, if that is a consideration.
As expected the wine list is full of local and other wines, varying from the staggeringly priced to almost bargain wines by the glass. Some of the waters in glass bottles are eliciously interesting and there are all the usual upper-end soft choices. The craft beers seem like a feature, although not tried.
All service that takes place at Flames itself is very good. However all service through the hotel, like pre-booking or regarding parking is sadly not like that at all.
The view from the Flames terrace is extraordinary and is the restaurant’s greatest feature. People even spot animals down in the zoo. The free movement from the terrace and indoors is also enjoyable. This is a place intended to seem comfortable for anyone and fulfils that function, with good lighting and comfortable seats, unintimidating cutlery and staff. The dishes are beautifully plated, especially the salads.
Whiling away a pleasant mealtime at the Westcliff that’s not super-expensive.
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