If you’re only offering one food option – with one minor, and costly, variation – then that one option needs to be prepared and presented perfectly. And, sadly, that was not the case with our visit to HQ. Diners get a simple salad of lettuce, pine nuts and parmesan shavings with a mustard vinaigrette. Only iceberg leaves, no cos with ours, and the vinaigrette is overpowered by too much acidic vinegar. The parmesan was high quality.
For mains the offering is sirloin – either local at R198 or Australian Angus at R395 – with Café de Paris butter and shoestring fries. The steak (local) was cooked perfectly to order, but the meat was drier than desirable. The Café de Paris butter was blander than I remember from previous, happier, visits – dominated by the green herbs.
The crème brûlée was an excellent finish, though. There is also a tapas menu, but that can only be enjoyed at the bar or in the lounge. There are options like marinated chicken skewers, foraged wild mushrooms, and triple cooked pork belly cubes.
The regular wine list is modest in ambition, but there is a reserve list that has some interesting options, albeit at an eye-moistening price. Many patrons opt for one of the excellent craft beers or choose from the extensive cocktail list.
Efficient and cordial. HQ can get crowded and the staff are adept at manoeuvring their way through the narrow table alignment.
It’s not a venue for intimate conversation – the house music is a few decibels too loud for that, and there is usually a very festive buzz from one of the many events that take place in the lounge. The party atmosphere usually prevails.
Management is inventive with special offers, so watch out for those.
Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.