Steak and sides - HQ - Cover image
Cocktails prepared and served at HQ

HQ

Cost
R170 avg main meal
Ambience
Contemporary cool
Food
Fine-dining food, Modern, Steak, Tapas
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Write a Review
500

Critic's review

John Maytham

Food
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.

Drinks
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.

Service
Efficient and cordial. HQ can get crowded and the staff are adept at manoeuvring their way through the narrow table alignment.

Ambience
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.

And...
Management is inventive with special offers, so watch out for those.

(September 2016)

Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food
  • Graham Howe

    Food 
    When you do only one thing, you have to do it well, really well. Elaborate menus are passé at this Parisian-inspired venue, which only offers two dishes: a classic iceberg and cos salad with parmesan shavings, toasted pine nuts and mustard vinaigrette, and a free-range wet-aged sirloin served with a legendary Café de Paris sauce made from 18 ingredients, accompanied by shoestring fries.

    The beef is tender, perfectly grilled to order and worth every penny. The vegetarian option is a hearty portion of grilled portobello mushrooms. So that makes three dishes, which is still pretty minimalist in this day and age.

    Oh, but you can order off a bar tapas menu, which comes in half-size and full portions. These are really substantial, from a charcuterie and cheese board served with wood-fired corn bread, to lamb sliders with truffle fries, crumbed prawns with roasted chilli and mayonnaise, or a gourmet quesadilla with prosciutto, mozzarella, goat’s cheese and avocado salsa. All are well plated, really tasty, and good to share over drinks. You won’t get over-whelmed by choice here, and might end up trying a little of everything.

    Drinks 
    They offer a first-rate selection cocktails, craft beers, champagnes and wines by glass and bottle, with a reserve list for a big night out.

    Service
    Service is slick and gets more well-oiled the busier, buzzier and later it gets.

    Ambience 
    Elegant and sophisticated, this venue buzzes in the metropolitan style with a glamorous bar and lounge feel – from the red leather seating to the mirrored walls.

    And… 
    They’ve got a couple of nice specials going, including what they call Aperitivo (a chef’s tapas board and selection of four cocktails for R200 between 5pm and 7pm), and two-for-one Mondays.

    (July 2014)

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • They only serve one dish here: sirloin, chips and salad. But that’s why you’ve come. Free-range beef from Namibia or Botswana is grilled to your taste and served with café de Paris butter with 18 ingredients. (The veg option is a portobello mushroom.) (EO mag 2014)
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Food
    Not designed for vegetarians, HQ serves only one main dish, sirloin steak. Your only choices will be how you want your steak done, what you want to drink with it and which of the two or three desserts you might like.

    Wine
    A well selected list of quality wines sometimes makes it difficult to choose just one. Fortunately there are several by the glass.

    Service
    The service is efficient and visits from the waiters welcome as they bring you refills of French fries and café de Paris butter.

    Ambience
    HQ is a modern take on the traditional steakhouse look. The open kitchen and central bar and lounge ensure a solid vibe.

    And...
    Friday nights are party night, so take your dancing shoes. (DV, October 2012)
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food

User reviews

  • High expectation - short of food appeal. Having heard a lot of the HQ experience, except for the venue and atmosphere, the evening was a disappointment. The food was average - a better steak can be experiened elsewhere in Cape Town. And the cost of a black angus steak was ridiculous (R395 for 250g) - it could have been any cut of beef had it not been told to us. And the fact that the price was not tabled with my guests led to me having to foot a very inflated bill! Then the service - we had not finished our salad starter when the main course (only steak) arrived. It was as if the objective was for us to eat and get out. Not sure it was the fault of the waiter but it happened. Fortunately, management was understanding and allowed us to enjoy the atmosphere and company before serving the main course - they duly removed the served steak and chips and returned a good while later with a fresh meal. Whilst overall disappointing given the cost and expectation, the evening was enjoyed by all, although it could have been so much better. Notwithstanding the above, I am prepared to give it a second chance given the atmosphere and vibe.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • If you're looking for a place to fill your tummy and tap your feet then HQ is the place to be. Fridays at HQ is where food meets party. Enjoy the only item on the menu (steak, chips and salad) while the house band entertain you with music accompanied by live instruments. With only 1 item on the menu it's easy to please. Good food, good service and great vibe.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • To be honest, HQ was an utter disappointment. If you do only 1 thing, then surely you should do that 1 thing well? I have read the positive reviews attached to the restaurant and I pity the reviewers, because they obviously have no idea how much they are being taken for a ride. The steak is average at best and completely overpriced. The drinks prices actually left me in shock - R 76 for double brandy and coke, R 65 for a bottled CBC, R 65 for a double Jameson. At R 740 for dinner for 2, I may as well take my business to Pot Luck Club. To top it all off - I felt like I was in a sweat shop it was so hot.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • We went to HQ on one of their Tuesday "Date Night" evenings. We got a cosy seat by the fireplace which was really nice for a Cape Town winter night. Very romantic and comfortable atmosphere and great live music. The service was slightly slow but the waiters were all very friendly. I had the HQ watering can cocktail. Great choice as it was presented beautifully and tasted great!. All in all a great evening.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • The outlay and ambience of this restaurant is vibey and gives off an aura of class. Unfortunately the service does not quite meet up to the standards of the décor and initial appeal. I found the service to be slow and impersonal. The food is very basic and for what you get - extremely over priced. It is a pity as it has a great location, bringing food and service up to standard would make it a winner.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food

Specials

Specials at HQ

Monday
Treat your soul to live acoustic music by South African artists, while you treat your tummy to HQ’s 2-for1 steaks with chips and a starter salad. Dinner is accompanied by the live acoustic sounds of local musicians.

Tuesday
Love is in the air for our #DateNight special. 2 salads, 2 steaks (with chips) and 2 glasses of The Wolftrap Red for just R250.

Wednesday
Fine Wining: First Wednesday of every month – more info here https://www.facebook.com/events/1565277157097901/
Tuning the Vine: https://www.facebook.com/events/1660797587542127/
Half Price Cocktails with The Entertainer: Last Wednesday of the month https://www.facebook.com/events/1532421450419746/

Thursday
Keen to start your weekend a little early? HQ does, and they have a weekly Half Price Tapas special every Thursday to get people in the mood. Enjoy house favourites like Chorizo Poppers, Lamb Sliders and Sirloin Cubes or be daring with a Grilled Crayfish Flatbread or Foraged Wild Mushrooms.

Resident DJs, Chris de Vos and Brett Aitken also play their part in creating a Festive Thursday vibe.

half price tapas at HQ

half price tapas at HQ

half price tapas at HQ

 

Valid from - 2016-11-24 - 2017-03-31

Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Cocktails
  • Dancing
  • Dinner
  • Dress code
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Fireplace
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Live entertainment
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

Write a review

Remember that your rating will influence the restaurant's ranking and chances of being recognised as one of the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Best Everyday Eateries.

Eatout