Bowl is a new restaurant situated in The Adderly Hotel at 31 Adderly St. They said they named it Bowl because all the food is served in bowls, but a lot of our meals were not served in bowls, so not sure what the deal is. Anyway, 10 of us had dinner there the other night and I was paying attention so can give you a fairly detailed review for a change.
The place is quite small, which is neither a good nor a bad thing. They have 2 thin balconies which overlook Adderly St. We started out on one of the balconies (they call it a terrace, but I call it a balcony), and it was quite pleasant (except for the wind). The view is not great, just buildings, but when the street (Christmas/Festive season?) lights all along Adderly St. come on it looks quite cheerful. We actually decided to move inside when the food was ready because of the wind and it was a good move. Décor is modern with black chairs and tables (quite comfortable).
The service was attentive and well intentioned, but not polished. They got confused with the drink orders to the point that at any one time, there was someone at the table waiting for or wondering about their drink. The place wasn’t very busy, so the service wasn’t really put to the test.
The food was good and not so good. I would say that overall the food was good, but could definitely do with improvement. I had the duck spring roll starter (it seems that every single restaurant in CT has duck spring rolls now) for R35. It was one big spring roll, rather than a couple of little ones. I’m not sure what sauce they put in it but it was way too strong. Duck is quite a delicate flavour and it was totally overpowered. Wouldn’t order that again. The other starters seemed fine except for quite a few comments about them being to heavy handed with the pepper. I’m not going to go into detail about every dish we had. Other starters we tried were the mussels in a Thai sauce (R40), the salmon tartare (R45), butternut & blue cheese salad (R35) and the carpaccio (R48). For mains, 5 of us had the ‘oriental paella’ which was basically thai noodles with calamari, tuna, mussels and prawns in a thai curry sauce (R95). It was very tasty, but very rich which made it difficult to finish the generous portion. Someone had the beef steak which was huge (I should hope so at R135) and absolutely fantastic. I tried a piece and it was one of the best pieces of meat I have had in a very long time. 2 people had the slow roasted pork (R85) and that was very good but also very rich. Another person had the seared tuna steak. The flavour and quality of the tuna was good but it was overdone (even though the waiter warned us that it was going to be uncooked inside) and the heavy pepper hand was evident again. We didn’t have any desserts, but there were priced at R40.
The wine list was not extensive but was certainly expensive. We did bring some of our own wine (R25 corkage) but also bought a few bottles. I had a glass of red (R30) earlier in the evening and it was terribly warm, they must be storing it near the oven. It was a bit startling that there was nothing on the wine list under R100. Considering a few nights before, I had eaten at Riboville and the wine they recommended (which was a very nice Shiraz) was only R85.
So, in conclusion: We enjoyed our dinner, the service, venue and food we all nice but not stunning. Considering Riboville across the street is a breathtaking venue with very good service and cheaper food & wine (see my review on the 16th Jan 2007), I can’t see a reason why I would rather eat at Bowl. (Except for the fact that they pride themselves on being child friendly and children can sit at the kitchen counter and make their own pizzas etc. – I don’t have any children.)