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[Cape Town, South Africa] Karibou

Harters | Nov 28, 2011 01:43 PM

We picked this place on the waterfront for our final dinner in South Africa. We picked it mainly because its menu indicated they were into local dishes and local ingredients. We’re not convinced that we necessarily made the right decision. It didn’t start well. We’d called in the night before to reserve a table – the guy wrote down the details but they had no record of us. After a bit of huffing and puffing, we were shown to a table. Actually when I say “shown to a table”, I mean the guy waved vaguely in the direction of one and asked if “that one’s OK”.

My partner started off with something light. “Fynbos salad” implied something more exotic than the bog standard salad leaves that arrived dressed with a few other salady bits and bobs. I went with snoek pate. The lightly smoked fish had been pureed into a soft spreading texture (similar to the more familiar smoked mackerel pate, but a thinner cream). Good fishy flavour with just a background note of smoke. A couple of slices of toasted baguette and a handful of salady stuff proved to be good accompaniments.

There was an indeterminate “fish of the day” on offer cooked on the braaai. It had an odd texture – more poached than braai’d. Tasted like of the sole family and had a topping of coriander, ginger and chilli which perked things up nicely.

Who do kudu? Well, perhaps, I do kudu. I had the venison potjie, which could have easily been this beastie but I forgot to ask what their “antelope of the day” was. Cooked long and slow with some chunks of veg, this was rich and flavoursome, although there was a considerable overuse of pepper which made for a harshness in the spicing. Served in a metal cooking pot, it was a faff to eat. Served separately, a small bowl of potato wedges.

Desserts were a disappointment. Cape Malva pudding was not a patch on the version at Savoy Cabbage. Here it was dense and unlovely and, clearly warmed up in the microwave. Although, to be accurate, I should say “only partially warmed up”.

I’d ordered another local dish – souskluitjies. It proved to be nothing more than chopped up bits of sweet dumplings mixed with a bland, almost tasteless, custard. Not nice at all.

Of interest to my alcohol drinking partner was the very decent range of wines by the glass for which they should be congratulated. However congratulations are not due for the service which was dilatory, even by local standards.

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