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