In the September newsletter I mentioned that Andre’s Restaurant had opened and was serving reasonably priced South African food. Tourists are often keen to eat at restaurants where they can experience ‘local food’, hence the popularity of the African restaurants like Mama Africa, etc. If they don’t end up at an African restaurant they will go to a Cape Malay restaurant. Both of those are not really representative of the food we eat here in South Africa.
Andre’s restaurant serves the kind of traditional South African meals we might eat at home when we are not trying to be fancy. The menu offers a selection of Potjies, Steaks and Curries as well as some seafood options. All menu options are reasonably priced and definitely have that ‘home cooked’ feel to them.
We weren’t too excited about our starters, the Giant Mushroom with Cheese and Ham (R32) was just button mushrooms with some cheese on top, nothing to write home about. The Venison Pie (R30) was dry and the Skilpaadjies (R20) were not great, but I am not a fan of kidney at the best of times. However, the Butternut Soup (R28) and the Beef Sosatie (R32) were fantastic. I’ve had a million butternut soups in my life, ok, maybe half a million, so to stand out it really has to be good, which this one was. While we were waiting for the starters, we were treated to cinnamon dusted Pumkin Fritters which were absolutely fantastic. We requested more and polished off the heaped plate in no time. They should have those on the menu.
For mains, several people had the Venison Potjie (R75), but we also tried the Bobotie (R45) and the Chicken Curry (R62). The Bobotie was overdone, making it dry but still tasty. The Chicken Curry was as one would expect. The Venison Potjie wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what I expected. I like potjies where the meat and veggies and potatoes are cooked in the pot together so the flavours are absorbed. For this dish the veggies and potatoes come separately. The potjie is just venison meat, tender and tasty, but just meat. There are some vegetarian options like Butternut and Sweet Potato Bake (R45) or Vegetable Stew (R45) but we didn’t try any of them.
The desserts are quite South African with options like Koeksisters with Cream (R22), Baked Karoo (Malva) Pudding (R30) and Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce (R22). We tried the Baked Karoo Pudding and it was good. The wine list is fairly short but there is enough of a variety and it’s reasonably priced. We had a few bottles of the Zonnebloem Cabernet Sauvignon at R85. The nicer wine by the glass was R17 for white and R22 for red.
Service was homely, the staff were very friendly and helpful. However, I was unable to measure efficiency because the restaurant was completely empty except for our table. It’s a sizable restaurant with a huge bar downstairs, but the place was completely empty on a Friday night. This obviously affects the ambiance quite a bit. Luckily we were a table of 10 so we created our own ambiance but the decor of the place is very plain, it needs people to give it some feeling.
I don’t think I would eat there normally, but I think it’s a great option for tourists wanting to try local food. For locals wanting a home cooked meal, it’s very reasonably priced. But either way, I suggest you go in a big group until the place starts to become more popular.
110 Loop Street
Tel: 021 424 6989
I’ve been reminded that Patat restaurant at the Cape Diamond Hotel also serves South African Cuisine, will try them next time.
Hmmm, just thought about those pumpkin fritters, damn they were good.