There are so many restaurants in the Waterfront and being a local, I don’t eat in the Waterfront that often. This is why it has taken me so long to get to Meloncino (they have been open two years now) even though I have heard many good reports. I decided on my most recent visit to skip Sevruga for a change and try out Meloncino which is on the upper level (old Sports Cafe). The view from up there is stunning, we sat on the balcony but it’s very open so you can see the beautiful view of the mountain from almost anywhere in the restaurant.
Meloncino is authentic Italian. I had a quick chat with one of the owners, Paulo, and he informed me that his parents are restaurateurs in Italy so I shouldn’t have been surprised. The menu items are in Italian with English explanations, I’ll just give you the English. For starter, we shared the mozzarella, rocket and pine nuts wrapped in
cured beef, sliced and dressed with extra virgin olive oil, black pepper and vintage balsamic (R75). It was a lovely light starter, not huge wedges of cheese but rather delicate slices. They also brought a little selection of breads which we devoured with the starter and some extra olive oil and balsamic. We actually got charged R12 for bread but I don’t know if that was for the bread they brought at the beginning (which we did not completely consume) or the bread we asked for later on to mop up some sauce.
For mains, I had the slices of grilled sirloin steak topped with fresh rocket, cherry tomatoes, lemon, oregano and shavings of Parmesan (R135). My dining partner had the home made potato and spinach gnocchi in a cream and Gorgonzola sauce (R79), but he requested Napoletana sauce instead of the gorgonzola which they happily arranged. Conversation was sparse once the mains arrived because we couldn’t move our concentration away from the delicious food. It was instantly apparent that one of the secrets at Meloncino is fresh, quality ingredients. That really makes a big difference.
For dessert I had the semi frozen Nutella mousse (R49), which was absolutely amazing. My dining partner ordered the panna cotta with a Danesi coffee sauce (R47) which he raved about as well.
It was an early dinner so we didn’t go for a whole bottle of wine, rather settling for a glass each of Asara Shiraz (R40) and Merlot (R45). There are not many wines available by the glass but the Asara is a safe bet. Meloncino did receive a Diners Club Platinum wine list award for the last two years so the wine list should please most. We rounded off the meal with a coffee (R16) which was a good idea because it might be the best coffee I’ve had in a while, I was tempted to order a second. A large bottle of still water was R27 by the way.
The service was excellent, friendly, helpful and attentive but not over attentive. We felt welcome and the place was fairly full which was a good sign considering it was early by Cape Town standards. If you’re looking for a good option at the Waterfront, Meloncino fits the bill. It may be quite pricey but it’s good value for great food made with fresh ingredients.
Shop 259, Upper Level, V&A Waterfront
Tel: 021 419 5558
Quite pricey? How do you say rip-off in Italian?
It is pricey, but the food is really a cut above. If you’re wanting cheap Italian, have some pizza at Col’cacchio but if you want to enjoy quality, authentic Italian cuisine, spoil yourself here.
I’d be very surprised if Meloncino has survived on local support alone for their two years. If so, Bravo; I can’t help suspecting that the visiting foreigners keep the place in business just by virtue of the waterfront location- Magica Roma in a less impressive Pinelands setting has always been Cape Towns Italian Spot. I’m interested in knowing which waterfront restuarants are local favourites by their culinary merits. Willoughbys does it for me despite the shopping center uggh views. There may be a couple of others. It’s a big “may” though. Root them out Dax.
There’s no doubt that all Waterfront restaurants rely on tourist traffic, but bear in mind that Meloncino is upper level, where it’s not easily spotted. I reckon it needs local support too.
Magica Roma does have a good reputation, although most will agree that the experience improves dramatically if you are a regular.
As for good restaurants in the Waterfront, perhaps I should post something about my top 5.
I was not impressed with Meloncino nor for that matter with Magica Roma. I am however very fond of Mezzaluna and L’Aperitivo – both coincidentally in Loop Street.
I’ve heard that Mezzaluna and L’Aperitivo are both excellent. I must get there soon.
I was bitterly disappointed in the portion sizes and selection on the wine list by the glass especially) as well as pricing. The food was definitely above average, but the above spoilt it for me. I won’t go back in a hurry….. 🙁
Thank you for all the constructive criticism. We are revising our winelist to include a wider selection by the glass. Yes we are a little pricey, but given where we are situated, we have to be. Anywhere in the world, you pay a little extra for prime positioning. However, locals are well looked after and are encouraged to join our VIP membership, which offers fabulous benefits such as a 15% discount, and complimentary drinks. We regularly run specials for vip members,(at the moment, its a free main course with each main course ordered, as well as offer free giveaways such as t shirts with your cocktail order.Simply join the VIP club.
Check out or website for more info
Once again Dax writes about a restaurant and gets it wrong. Why the hell is the world taking you seriously when you have no experience in passing judgement about a establishment. What is your experience in food and being a food critic? Why do people take you seriously if you have not put in the time in the kitchen? But judging by your growing wistline, it seems that you have alot of experience in food eating but that still doesnt make you a expert.
The world’s taking me seriously? Awesome!
I would have thought that eating and enjoying food *did* make you somewhat of an expert? I don’t need to know how to perform brain surgery in order to appreciate it.
Thanks for the tips Dax…I’ll definitely check it out. Perhaps later this month on my flying visit through the W.Cape!
Agreed. I trust Dax’s reviews for their honesty and he knows what consumers are looking for in a restaurant. You don’t have to be a book publisher to review a book (I know, I’ve been a book publisher) – in fact, usually it’s better for the general public if you aren’t. It’s possible to get so far up your own wazoo that you’re no longer relevant to your target market… Thanks Dax, my hubby and I have eaten at Meloncino and enjoyed it too (we even thought it was fairly reasonably priced, considering it’s at the Waterfront and the views are great).
@ Foodman, and you are? You’re entitled to pass judgement, decide who is able or not able to be a critic?
Foodman. For someone who doesn’t put much stock in Dax’s opinion, why do you continue to read his blog? Get a life!
Foodman what are you smoking? You can only pass comment on food if you have been a chef or worked in a kitchen, are you a Halloween joke? Dax you are no expert…great. You have never said so either,and you certainly don’t do it professionally do you? Even better. Will keep on reading your reviews, always honest and to the point. We need more fresh commentary on the local food scene. And by the way you waistline was looking rather good the other day.
Keep up the great work
Foodman, sorry but get a life. Dax has always given us honest reviews for the unpretentious consumer out there interested in good quality service and food; and that’s what we get! And beside, who wants to listen to a food snob who thinks they know it all! Dax ur waistline is urs…will regard ur reviews with no less interest!
@ bonnie, I agree; it’s only in this country that people insist food critics have to be chefs? In most European countries food critics are people who have traveled widely for long periods of time & have learnt what food tastes like at source. They’re usually multilingual and older … when you spend years in a kitchen you learn how to cook food, when you spend years travelling, you learn what food should taste like. I love Dax’s reviews!
@Foodman – would be interested to know who you are and why you feel so strongly about the review. All I saw was a general personal attack on Dax which seems out of all proportion to the contents of the review. I know enough about who Dax is and what he thinks because he gives us that information in his reviews and on his website. and people seem to like what he has to say well enough to support and follow him. Isn’t that enough qualification.
Dax is a clown, plain and simple. If anybody is really genuinely interested in making sure that the restaurant they intend visiting is a real gem then they would make use of proper food critics reviews.
Dear Real Food Critic, could you please give me you definition of a “proper food critic”? You are laughable & oh-so-self-important aren’t you?
Have you ever been to outer Mongolia? Ever tasted their yak cheese? Ever eaten real caviar in Iran before all this trouble started? You know the difference between the wild salmon from Scotland, Norway & Canada because you’ve actually tasted it? You’ve done a study of the various noodles one finds world-wide by actually eating it? You’ve been to Mexico & made mole with a local and you learn’t to make cassoulet from an old lady with one tooth who lives on the border between France & Germany? Then you’re a food critic, my friend. Not because you feel you’ve earned your stripes by cooking the food that someone else tasted and then imported for you.
Someone who actually has spent the last 30 years doing exactly that and I realize my food reviews aren’t nearly as good as Dax’s…..
Jacoba, i couldn’t have said it any better 🙂
“Real food Critic” have you met “Foodman”? The two of you sound just perfect for each other, and so can I suggest you take your Dax bashing some place else…as the majority of us, just want to RELAX with Dax!
It seems alot of people making comments on this blog have this notion that Dax is some kind of guru when it comes to food. The man use to work in IT hence the fact that he can string a blog together. What makes him a expert on judging restaurants is anybody’s guess and the fact that people still read his blog and his amatuer style of reviewing speaks volumes about the mentality of the people who read his drivel.
SERIOUSLY!!! If you don’t like what he writes DON’T DAMN WELL READ HIS BLOG!!!!
@Louise – I completely agree with you. Why are these people reading and commenting on a blog that they obviously don’t like.
Dax – your reviews are great and I’ve tried many a new restaurant just because you’ve brought it to light.
I’d have thought that people who are qualified to review restaurants and foods are those people who enjoy eating out and love food.
The rest of the pretentious fools out there – get a life.
So many BITTER, ANGRY people out there. Wow guys. It’s simple. If you don’t like Dax’s blog – don’t read it? If you don’t like the Heat magazine or the YOU, don’t read that either. Same applies here. Take your maliciousness elsewhere, we could certainly do without your negativity and unneccesary personal attacks on Dax.
Dax, carry on with the brilliant work, we dig you! 🙂
I have no opinion on Dax’s ability. I don’t know him. But if you are going to criticize someone, grow a set of balls and publish your real name. Otherwise you are just another loser hiding behind internet anonymity.
@ Hennie, the balls I can’t do; the name I can. Jacoba Budden, pleased to meet you.
I read Dax’s blog often and never ever take them seriously. He is just a run off the mill kind of guy who likes eating out regularly and writes about. Anybody who takes him seriously should get their head read as he is clearly no food maestro. So there is no need to slate the guy as he is really a nobody in terms of food criticism. I would on the other be peeved if some good food critic wrote highly of a restaurant only for me to have a bad experience.So just chill people.
Great review Dax! This is somewhere that I would love to try out for a meal. I enjoy your reviews. Ignore the riff raff…I cannot but help wonder why they are here reading and commenting when clearly they don’t enjoy this blog. Life is too short to force yourself to do something that you find no joy in doing so why read something and take it in and feel the need to comment. It must be wasting so much of their precious hours left of life …..in the inimitable words of a friend of ours from NZ…..take a tablespoon of cement dudes and harden the F@&K up! The world does not need anymore jealous losers raining down their acid on innocents. There are enough of those out there already, doing a more stirling job of it than leaving snide anonymous comments on blogs! Stand up and be counted…be man enough to show your faces and bare your names. Then the world might take you seriously….
I thoroughly enjoy Dax and find his comments astute and valid. Can’t wait for him to visit the restaurant I represent and get his honest opinions…
Dax – I think you should take these attacks as a compliment!
The only reason these people are launching into you is because they feel threatened in some way. That’s the only logical explanation I can think of for why they’d bother to spend precious minutes of their lives getting all worked up and sitting down to type their attack! Or why they’d bother to read your blog in the first place. Shame, it’s quite pitiful. Clearly they feel the world ‘owes’ them something because they are ‘experts’ on food, that your readers are being mislead by you, as if you’d claimed to be a food expert! Maybe they run their own blogs that no one is reading (hee hee).
You keep doing what you do well – enjoying life and food and sharing your experiences with us! Let these others turn green with envy and burst a blood vessel over it if they want.
I’d like to comment on the restaurant situation at the V&A (not Meloncino specifically).
From a property management perspective (lest we forget that the V&A is ultimately a privately owned portfolio) the Waterfront is unique in that:
1. It is an international icon, a brand; one of the most visited tourist destinations in South Africa and therefore an integral aspect of tourism within the country.
2. Is home to boutique and designer shopping, to cater for its (spending)customer base (international visitors and the discerning local market)with quality local shops thrown in for good measure.
3. By perception is emotionally ‘owned’ by locals/the country, much in the same way as any public space.
This poses the tricky problem of catering (excuse the pun) for different customer segments. Whilst I understand that it can’t be all-things-to-all-people there does seem to be a massive gap between the many ‘up-market’ restaurants and the coffee shop/takeaway establishment.
Surely restaurant owners do their research before opening up any business? Surely the Waterfront carries some responsibility for allowing yet another doomed restaurant in, purely because they fill a space?
To me, the restaurants in the V&A are visible indicators of what the spending customer wants and more importantly, what they don’t want.
Dax- you have been one person who has inspired me to start following my dreams. Like you- i have no history in food and slog away at the 9 till 5 which often ends up being the 7 to 7- but i digress. By realising your passion for food, exploring places, enlightening people etc you have- eventually, and just for the love of it- created an opportunity to make this your business. This has inspired me to look at leaving the corporate world again, to study, and follow my passion. So thank you! WHO cares if you have no formal trading- you are doing what you love and have no aires or graces about you- honest, personal and engaging writing….thanks for the great blog!
@Damion: each to their own! im by no means saying Dax is the authority on foods and he never says he is either for that matter. Dax is a great, friendly and approachable guy who is following his dreams and passions and that is inspirational… now im going to act your age and not mine and not have cheap shots at people i dont know.
Happy weekend all
I ate at Meloncino again on the weekend, a year and a half after this first review.
The quality hasn’t changed, it’s still excellent quality food. It was quite cold so we say inside and I realised that it’s quite modern and not the warmest atmosphere. More summer than winter I think.
For mains I had the mixed seafood soup (zuppetta di mare mista – R79) which was amazing, very rich flavours, like a bisque. As our waiter said the soup is ‘concerning’ prawns, calamari, fish and mussels, served with 2 slices of garlic toast. I’m teasing the waiter but he was a great guy, friendly and eager with a big smile. His name was Quiet.
My partner ordered the layers of mozzarella, rocket & pine nuts wrapped in cured beef (rotolo di mozzarella farcito con bresaola – R75) which she enjoyed immensely. We also shared the foccacia with olive oil & rosemary (focaccia bianca con rosmarino – R49) for which they are famous, and I can see why, it was very morish.
For mains I had the medallions of fillet topped with truffle & porcini mushroom sauce and served with potato purée (millefoglie di filetto con funghi porcini e salsa tartufata – R149). It was superb, just a little too much truffle which meant I couldn’t really taste the porcini nor the steak. My partner selected the fish (kingklip) encrusted with potato gratin and oven roasted (filetto di pesce in crosta di patate- R150), which she enjoyed, although we agreed it would have been nice to have a couple of veggies on the plate. Looking at the menu now I see that we could have ordered a selection of mixed veggies oven roasted Italian style.
To drink we just had a glass of wine each, I went for the Leopards Leap Family Collection SMV (R65) and my partner had the Whalehaven Viognier Chardonnay blend (R49).
We were so full after those two courses but I love Nutella so couldn’t resist the semi-frozen Nutella mousse (R49). It was a nice sweet end to the meal, tasted like Nutella, texture of ice cream.
It was nice to see the owners walking around chatting to the guests (sometimes in Italian), it’s not often you find the owner of a Waterfront restaurant in attendance.
My review remains the same, Meloncino is definitely one of the top options for Italian food in Cape Town. It’s not cheap, but it’s real Italian (not just pizza and pasta) and it’s an attractive venue with a killer view.