Big-budget dinners, business meals, special occasions.
A selection of artisan bread and four types of flavoured butter kick things off, but best to practice restraint at this point and save space for the good stuff. The baked camembert is a moreish delight. It comes with an intriguing almond and cranberry crumble, made unexpectedly elegant with a drizzle of hibiscus honey. The tuna tartare is generously portioned, with avocado and wasabi purée offering a delicate counterpoint. Equally eye-catching options include saffron pear and goat’s cheese, salmon gravlax and wild mushroom risotto balls. After a such a spectrum of flavours, the strawberry sorbet is aptly refreshing.
The vegan main is a handsome dish of baby marrow noodles with deliciously crisp edges. Dollops of basil pesto and rather unwieldy broccoli florets threaten to overwhelm the subtler tastes of the mushrooms, artichokes and cubed potatoes, but this is nonetheless a hearty, well-thought out meal. Meat-eaters won’t be disappointed by the beef fillet given a tasty twist with roasted bone marrow, a sublime bordelaise sauce and exceptionally well-made fondant potatoes. Other grill options include smoked pork belly, lamb shank and sirloin steak topped with a blue cheese sauce and biltong shavings. One could just as easily come for the sushi, which is among the finest you’ll find in the capital city – and surprisingly unfussy and well-priced.
For dessert, classic crème brûlée is partnered with popcorn and salted caramel ice cream: a brave combination that risks over-amplifying the sweetness of the one and saltiness of the other. The frozen honey and almond nougat parfait, however, is a dreamy concoction of icy, chewy goodness, made pleasantly complex with dainty details like lime gel, orange segments and almond crumble. The rainbow-coloured cheesecake served with crushed candy cane is a playful alternative, or go for the fruit and mascarpone-filled crepe parcels with hazelnut ice cream.
From an impressive array of fine French bubbles to an excellent selection of cognac, gin and rare whiskies, the extensive drinks menu sees to it that special occasions are matched with a fitting libation. The sommelier will help you navigate the endlessly vast wine list to find just the right one, while the cocktail line-up consists of all the classics.
A squadron of gracious, superbly trained staff ensures that guests are made to feel welcome in a flurry of attentiveness. Although it may feel excessive to some, it’s all been carefully planned and there are no awkward, mid-chew interruptions of the “How is your meal?” variety. The service is exceptional throughout, although some staff go about it with a little more heart than others.
The ambience is perhaps where Kream truly shows its fine-dining mettle: they’re just so good at getting the little things right. While dinnertime conversation fills the main eating areas with the sound of pleasant chatter, it’s still discreet. The music is played at just the right volume, the temperature is perfect, and high ceilings, reflective surfaces and fine local art team up to create an experience that is sophisticated from start to finish
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The menu is simply enormous, with a page each for cold and hot starters, and sections dedicated to salads, from the land, from our waters, from the grill, poultry – and that’s not even touching on the reams of sushi options. Luckily the knowledgeable waiter is forthcoming with numerous specials, which helps us to gain some kind of direction and understand where the chef likes to play.
A choice of fresh bread with a quartet of butters – plain, sundried tomato, garlic-and-herb, and biltong (we are in Pretoria after all) – starts things off on a tasty note. The deep-fried calamari special is perfectly cooked, with a well-seasoned batter and drizzles of delectable masala-spiced sauce, but is served somewhat incongruously with fresh mozzarella, breaking the Italian rule never to pair cheese with seafood. The beef carpaccio, one of four on the menu, is superb, with crispy capers, generous slivers of beef and parmesan, lemon juice, spring onion and rocket leaves.
After our first course, a shot glass of sweet raspberry sorbet is a nice touch and quite delicious, but perhaps better suited to dessert than a palate cleanser. (Indeed, the same hot-pink scoop arrives alongside one of the puds later on.)
For mains, duck medallions are crispy but still tender-pink inside, served with baby carrots and silky butternut purée, fun little fritters and a nest of crunchy slivers of the squash. Another main of oxtail is rich and gorgeously tender, served with a fragrant wild-mushroom samp redolent with truffle, and a few plain florets of broccoli. Other tempting options include the likes of steak with your choice of myriad sauces; Durban lamb curry; smoked pork belly with apple-sage mash and Calvados mustard; and fish of the day (silvers) with a pair of prawns.
For dessert, the crème brûlée is exemplary: dotted with vanilla, custardy without being eggy, and with the dark sugar crust offering a pleasingly bitter counterpoint. The almond-and-pear tart is strewn with sesame halva and accompanied by a scoop of delicious vanilla ice cream. You could also opt for blondies and brownies, chocolate gateaux, or a concoction of crushed candy canes, rainbow cheesecake, bubblegum ice cream and candyfloss – alarming or irresistible, you decide.
Paging through Kream’s drinks menu is a treat, with over 20 pages of enticing options, whether you’re after cognacs, armagnacs, cocktails or an excellent collection of fine wines and champagnes. (The entrance to the restaurant is through the chilly wine cellar, lined with high-end bubblies, so you can look around for later.) Teetotalers are looked after with virgin cocktails, like the pomegranate bellini.
Things are off to a very attentive start, with numerous, smartly dressed members of staff greeting us at every turn and meeting all our needs. As the lunch service winds down, their presence does get a little thin, however, with empty plates and glasses left uncleared a little too long. No matter, it’s easy to let it go, feeling relaxed and satisfied.
This is one of Pretoria’s smart, special-occasion restaurants, with white table linen, very comfortable chairs that invite sinking into by its well-heeled patrons, and prices to match. A glistening water-feature wall and light streaming into the double-volume space through a gauzy curtain makes the experience feel intimate and special, even in the daytime. There are numerous sections to suit any mood, whether you choose to dine near the bar, more privately upstairs, in a cozy nook, or at a congenial round table on a slightly raised diaz.
The Kream brand has extended to a new restaurant at Mall of Africa.