Last year, the general consensus was that the Taste Festival was fun but too expensive. I didn’t go last year and was tending toward not going this year until I was offered comps. The prices are much the same this year, but they gave out a stack of comps. It appeared that most people appeared to be going in with comps. Without a comp, you would pay R80 to get in, plus R100 for a book of 20 crowns (the Taste Festival currency).
I was quite impressed at how busy it was, I’ve been told it was busy the whole weekend. I’m not sure if that’s because people want to attend the festival or due to the comps. I arrived quite late on the sunday afternoon and only had two hours to do some tasting. These are the dishes that I tried, out of the 50 on offer (from 18 restaurants):
Five Flies – Crumbed chicken breast stuffed with gorgonzola and caramelized apple and orange butter sauce (6 crowns)
La Colombe – Asian style beef tartare (6 crowns) & Warm prawn salad with coconut milk and lemongrass butter (8 crowns)
Nova – 24 Hour pork belly, togorashi spiced carrot, Romesco sauce (6 crowns)
Reuben’s – Red braised deboned chicken leg panko, chilli sambal, Szechuan salt (6 crowns)
Showroom Cafe – Spicy lamb bunny chow (7 crowns)
Terroir – Tempura squid with tomato jam, aioli, rocket puree and garlic crouton (7 crowns)
The food was good, but not mind blowing. I think the problem is expectation. These are supposed to be the best restaurants in Cape Town and they are serving something which is supposed to knock your socks off. It’s difficult to live up to that expectation. The food was good and interesting (there are some words in those descriptions I don’t know), I did enjoy tasting all those dishes, and could probably have tasted a couple more if given the chance (and budget).
Talking about budget, a crown = R5, so you can get an idea of what the day would cost. I did go a little crazy because I love tasting different dishes, especially when they are of a high standard. They are starter size, so I think that 3 would be enough for most people, maybe more if you try some dessert options. At an average of 6 crowns a dish, that’s R30 a dish. I shared tastes with a friend and we had 20 crowns each, which would have bought us about 6 tastes between us. Wine glass was 1 crown, and I just did wine tasting which was free, but a vodka cocktail would have set me back 4 crowns and a Grolsch beer, 5 crowns. Paying with crowns that you have pre bought is deceptively easy. I reckon it would be value for money if the entrance fee was reduced to R50 and you got 25 crowns for your hundred Rand.
The setting was quite nice, from the fields of Jan van Riebeek school you have a clear view of Table mountain. These pics were taken from the festival. It’s quite a good venue, I just wasn’t convinced about the traffic/parking situation. It was definitely a fun afternoon, something different and interesting. It is a tad expensive, but if you spend most of the day there, you can probably get your money’s worth.