I’ve lived in Cape Town for over 10 years now and I have never been to Mesopotamia. There is one specific reason for that, I heard that you sit on cushions on the floor. I do not like sitting on the floor, I find it very extremely uncomfortable. However, I was invited to Mesopotamia for a friend’s birthday recently so I could no longer avoid going.
It was as uncomfortable as I thought it would be and everyone else at the table(?) was finding it uncomfortable too. If I can help it, I will never eat there again. So, that’s out the way, let’s review the rest of the experience for those people who don’t have legs or like to lose the feeling in their legs.
If you asked me what nationality Mesopotamia restaurant was, I would have said Middle Eastern, which is generally correct but it is more precisely a Kurdish restaurant. You don’t get a lot of Kurdish restaurants around, in fact, I don’t know many Kurds either. The point being, I can’t tell you how authentic it is but the food seems quite authentic. The dishes do have weird names which makes them at least seem authentic. We were a large party so we were compelled to have the set menu (R175). This meant that we shared a selection of mezes (this is how they spell it) for starter, accompanied by a selection of Nan breads (plain/garlic/cheese). The mezes normally cost R30 each and the Nan, R10 -R14).
I can’t tell you which mezes we had because I couldn’t hear a word the waitress was saying. I can tell you that they ranged from quite tasty to not quite so tasty. I do quite enjoy a variety of different flavours so was happy dipping my bread in several bowls and messing whatever it was on my clothes on the way to my mouth.
For mains we were served several platters to share. The platters included a selection of chicken and lamb dishes as well as a vegetarian option. Again, I can’t tell you which dishes we were served but the mains range in price from R60 to R85. Most of it was quite tasty, similar to Moroccan cuisine in some ways. We ended with Baklawa (usually R30) for dessert.
Mesopotamia has a fairly authentic feel in terms of decor, in other words, there are no tables and chairs, just giant brass trays on stands, surrounded by ornate cushions. The walls are covered with a patchwork of Middle Eastern type carpets. Service was adequate although it appears they don’t chill their bottled water for some reason (at least it was local though). The wine list is quite reasonable, several options in each cultivar with whites often below R100 and reds mainly between R100 and R150, the rest more, not less.
I’ve left the best for last. Mesopotamia usually has a belly dancer for entertainment (what else would she be for?) but we happened to be there when it was a belly dancing festival so we had about 9 belly dancers. It was fun to begin with but you can really only watch so much belly dancing, it got a bit tiresome after a while. Some were really good, others should maybe take up Flamenco or something. I think having a couple (as in two) of belly dances during the course of the evening adds to the experience. They also have a shisha bar if you are into that sort of thing.
If you’re looking for something different, Mesopotamia is a good option. Especially if you love yoga and can wrap your legs around yourself.
Cnr Long & Church Streets, CBD
021 424 4664