I love eating out and especially at places I have never been to before. That appeals to the spirit of adventure in me and culinary curiosity is part of my DNA. I also am likely to choose food/dishes that we don’t serve at home….
Top of the range Fine Dining of course has enormous appeal, but expense of dining at these establishments tends to make them aspirational. But much like enjoying a wine that was awarded less than four or five stars, dining at a restaurant that isn’t in the fine dining descriptor, can be no less a rewarding experience.
Last week, together with my daughter Clare, I discovered The Mess, a restaurant and bar located in Cape Town’s trendy De Waterkant Village in Green Point Cape Town is blessed with trendy nodes – Bree Street, Long Street and the De Waterkant being three of them. So The Mess is right there in an area where taking a short stroll reveals so much to delight.
We had booked for early evening, enjoying the transition that occurs as day turns into night as we do. We were warmly greeted and seated and immediately enjoyed the look and feel of the place.
The Mess encourages the sharing plates of enjoyable food, its menu takes inspiration from a diverse range of cuisines. Although the menu is (happily!!) not a large one, there is much from which to choose and the dishes are all very reasonably priced.
Our waitress was really good, relaxed, friendly and intimate with the menu and we soon were ‘into it’ and ready to make our choices.
We found the overall service at The Mess really top notch and pitched perfectly for the establishment. A wonderful value-add for us was the hands-on presence of owner and restaurateur Carlene de Gouveia. A charming lady and a genial and caring host.
This is what we chose (some dishes we didn’t share):
We started with Yoghurt & Thyme Flatbreads on which we topped; Confit duck rillettes, pickled beetroot; White bean and tahini paté, pine nut and mint vinaigrette; and Pickled goats’ cheese with nut dukkha. We enjoyed all three, but agreed that the duck option was the star.
Next dish I tried was Soft Shell Crab, Creole fried with a smokey mayo. This was a treat, and I can’t remember when I last ate crab in any form. Much like a wine/food pairing, I first tried the crab on its own, then tried the yummy yummy yummy mayo and finally the crab and mayo together. I could easily devour a generous main portion of this dish.
Next, for sharing, was Tuna Geviche. The tuna was lime cured with coriander and spring onion salad and avocado. We both found this dish fresh and refreshing and a lovely gateway to what we had chosen for mains. It too was very moreish.
We chose from The Grill and must say that both dishes deserved a description on the menu, they were too good to be relegated to just a line item and maybe unfairly overlooked.
I chose the Pork Loin Ribs, which were magnificently and exotically flavoured with a Char Siu basting, honey, soya sauce and Hoisin sauce – this Asian inspired treatment was superb and gave this ribs fan a new Number One. The cliché is that the meat fell off the bone, well it did! As a side I had Charred broccoli and dukkha, crisp and tasty – so delicious that I could turn vegetarian. Well maybe only for ten minutes!!!
Clare, she the Warwick-trained chef, had Angus Ribeye steak with an herb butter (coriander, basil, dill, parsley, garlic, butter) with chips as a side. “The best chips I have had in my whole life!” She made short shrift of the steak too. I also had a taste of the steak which elicited in me, MasterChef salivation.
I must make special mention of The Mess’s special mayos, they are superb. Hopefully they will eventually bottle and sell them. I’ll be first in the queue.
The battle between weight and a lifelong passion for desserts is an uneven contest. The latter always the valiant winner. I must confess the dessert menu is usually my first port of call in a restaurant menu.
Clare and I shared: Dark Chocolate Lava Cake – baked dark chocolate pudding, white chocolate and lime ice cream with roasted hazelnuts. Dangerously good, but we showed no fear.
We loved our first visit to The Mess, there is so much to like about eating there and there is much untasted on its Menu that I want to come and try.
Ground Floor, The Rockwell All Suite Hotel, Shop 110 Napier Street.
Operating hours are Monday – Saturday 18h00 till late.
(021) 418-3910 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org