The current menu at this hotel restaurant offers five starter options which include a delicious five spiced duck with red onion marmalade, pak choi and maitake mushroom. Sauces are rich, decadent and beautifully reduced. The braised beef tongue came with a little winter bean salad (including some chickpeas), marrow vinaigrette and tomato confit – which was delicious with the remainder of the bread. For main course there are six options including pork fillet, Joostenburg duck, lamb loin, a vegetarian main option of Ratatouille, roasted fresh hake or beef fillet. As uninspiring as hake might often sound, it was simply delicious – the portion size was perfect and it was finished off with mushrooms, nasturtiums, pine nuts and a perfect little risotto. All mains have a serving of veg on the side, such as potato cubes in a gremolata dressing, and a rocket, red grapefruit and currant salad. Desserts include a perfectly made sweet potato beignet with chocolate and brown butter ice cream; an apple, caramel and walnut dessert; blue cheese with celery, fig, port and grape and lastly a mango, coconut and passion fruit pudding.
The wine list, although not overly large or cumbersome, shows care and expertise. The smart selection includes some CWG Auction wines and a small selection of wines by the glass. The dessert menu cleverly lists the dessert wines and digestifs available, including some interesting dessert wines, liqueurs, grappas, cognacs, brandies and items such as Die Krans 1997 Cape Ruby port.
The waiters, looking super smart in their full blue-green full aprons, are all on their toes. Although every table was occupied, the pace of service was excellent, and waiters were able to competently answer questions about the food, make food and wine pairing suggestions and even provide information about the hotel. Another welcoming touch was the home-made health bread and ciabatta offered shortly after our arrival, accompanied with an enthusiastic description of the smoked butter, olives, aioli and home-made hummus presented alongside.
One enters into a foyer where the reception desk does double duty as a bar, which gives access onto the main dining area that opens through floor-to-ceiling glass doors onto an outside area with additional tables. The dining room is intimate, reminiscent of smaller, fashionable London restaurants. The interior is painted in shades of light blue and grey; banquettes are upholstered in sea-green and the dining chairs in smart charcoal leather with cream piping. To complete the interior decoration, there are some elegant mirrors, vintage-style milk glass light fittings, black and white artworks displayed on narrow shelves, and the tables are set with functional but high-end tableware and good linen. The mood is elegant and smart.
The fantastic part of having good food in a hotel restaurant is that one can book a room and turn dinner into a stay over. Chef Johannes de Bruijn and his team are doing an excellent job of running a winning restaurant in the protective milieu of a small hotel.