The menu runs to several pages – usually a bad sign – and it emerges that there are additional sushi and pizza menus. We ask our waitron’s advice to help narrow it down. The rock shrimp tempura is not too shabby: neat California rolls topped with prawns in a light, crispy tempura batter, dipped in a small amount of wasabi mayo. The lamb lollipops are also good: the South Indian chilli and lime sauce is perhaps an odd pairing with lamb, but the chops are succulent and juicy, and medium-rare as requested. The salmon, served with an Asian-influenced tagliata sauce with soy, ginger and a touch of chilli, as well as parmesan and rocket, is also a perfectly fresh and tasty rendition. For pud, the apple and buttermilk upside down cake is a winner with cardamon fudge, cinnamon and marula custard.
By-the-glass options are somewhat limited if you’re not after the house wines. The glassware is also a little clunky, and if you sit on the beach, be warned: you may be made to drink out of plastic. There is, however, a dedicated whisky room and vodka vault that’s chilled to minus two degrees – perfect for drinking fine vodka and nibbling caviar, apparently. The cocktail menu is a nice mix of classics and specialities.
“We have three separate kitchens,” our waitress warns us, so ordering from more than one menu will result in food arriving at different times. This seems a little weak, but managing expectations is at least half of good service. There’s no hint of snobbery from the individuals who serve us, and food comes out briskly. (Though, at one point, our waitress does enquire whether my guest is a professional athlete. Perhaps his abs are skewing the odds.) The service charge of 11% is included in the bill.
This is Shimmy’s undeniable strength. Located at the mouth of the Waterfront’s harbour, looking out over sparkling water, there’s no question that the setting is sublime. Outside, sun loungers rest on a pristine faux beach; there’s a turquoise plunge pool for paddling; and elegant white seating and decking. The double-volume dining room inside, complete with embossed wallpaper and shiny finishes, is not as cold or intimidating as one might expect.
Phone ahead about the cover charge (which could be as much as R100 depending on the day/time), try your damnedest to get your party to stick to one menu for each of the courses, and take somebody with good abs along to ensure good service.(Katharine Jacobs, April 2013)