Taste of Cape Town 2010 review



Ok, so apologies to all my Twitter followers (twitter.com/RelaxWithDax if you’re not following me) for not giving you a blow by blow, but I was too busy enjoying myself. You should know by now, I like to enjoy things and tell you about it afterwards. No time for tweeting or photos even. So I ended with a coffee from Bean There which was amazing and I think the reason you are getting a review now instead of tomorrow is thanks to the caffeine in that coffee. Also, I’m a bit inebriated as there was plenty of good wine available so this review might be a little more frank and maybe more interesting, but who knows.

It seems that Relax with Dax readers are definitely foodies because everyone I met tonight knew who I was and some were super excited to meet me. Obviously, as you would expect from any Relax with Dax reader, they were all intelligent, good looking and fun. Some were really good looking, I was thinking of interviewing them. Anyway, to all the readers I met tonight, it was great meeting you, thanks for the support.

Now, let’s talk about Taste of Cape Town. I want to tell you straight away that it’s still an expensive outing. I know that everyone seems to have comps but event so, the food costs a lot crowns (we call them krone, it sounds cooler). I bumped into a couple I knew and they had spent R500 on crowns and used them all. That’s hectic. While we are on this note, for the attention of the organisers, when you invite me as media and tell me I can bring a partner, can we please have two passes so I don’t have to buy crowns for my partner to match everything I have. Thanks very much.

The festival this year is another step up from last year. They have added stands of random things you can taste (as opposed to buy) which makes it bigger and more interesting. I tried some tasty pickles, jams and relishes at Oded’s Kitchen. I was also blown away by Yummi’s brownies, probably the best ever. Non Pareil (what does that mean?) biltong is there and their prices are really good. There were plenty more stands which I can’t remember.

As for the food… wow, there was some really good stuff. We tried quite a bit, here’s a list with recommendations:

Bistro Sixteen82 – Beef Tataki (chilled beef fillet with fresh green ginger, chili, tamari soya and lime): if there is one dish you have, this must be it. I recommended this to some people and they hunted me down to thank me and worship me (inside tip: the recipe is on the Taste of CT website, copy it and impress your friends, invite me) – 7 Crowns
Bistro Sixteen82 – Soft Shell Crab (panko crumbed and fried, served with dressed pea shoots and smoked paprika aioli): Very nice, but very rich as it is crumbed and fried – 8 Crowns
Ginja – Thai Spiced Porchetta (with roasted garlic gnocchi, celeriac and lemongrass puree) – small portion and nothing to write home about, but good to meet the owner and hear the inside track on their move to the ex Relish building – 5 Crowns
Grande Provence – Warm ballontine of Free Range Chicken (and lobster, white onion risotto): Awesome, we liked this – 8 Crowns
Le Quartier Francais – Braised lamb breast (white bean and buchu puree, apricot chutney): We were not blown away – 8 Crowns
Nobu – Yellowtail sashimi (with jalapeno): yes, absolutely, this is a treat. Very small but it is so worth it – 4 Crowns
Nobu – Crispy pork belly (with spicy miso): no – 6 Crowns
Signal – Pan seared scallops (on saffron risotto, micro green salad and burnt butter vinaigrette): Subtle flavours, we enjoyed it but it was early so we didn’t have much to compare it to – 7 Crowns
The Greenhouse – Crispy sesame prawn sandwich (with ponzu): yes, we loved this – 8 Crowns

Wow, that looks like a lot. It was actually, I was very full. Luckily there were some excellent wines to wash it all down. I tried a La Motte Shiraz, Bonnievale Shiraz, Grand Provence Cab Sav and a delicious Delaire Graaff Sauvignon Blanc.

We also tried a few desserts, but I’m getting a bit bored writing this all out. I think the caffeine is wearing off. Ok, home stretch, here are the desserts:

Overture – Chocolate mille fuille (with rasberry ice cream): Nice, not amazing – 6 Crowns
Signal – Pistachio pavlova (liquid cardomom, poached pear and rooibos and honey ice cream) – this was exciting, very interesting – 4 Crowns
We had one more which I can’t find on the list now, it was good. I’ll try find it when I go again on Friday.

Yes, I’m going again. There are so many dishes still to try. It’s expensive, but it’s fun and different. I’ll see you there.



17 responses to “Taste of Cape Town 2010 review”

  1. I’m vegetarian, you reckon its worth going?

  2. Fabulousness. Can’t wait to get there on Friday.

    Nonpareil comes from French – it means ‘no equal’or ‘unparalleled’.

  3. @Candy if you have comps, it’s worth going because there are lots of things to taste and lovely desserts, etc. It’s just a fun night out and it won’t be expensive because you won’t eat a lot of the dishes.

    @Erika thanks for the info, hopefully see you there on Friday.

  4. Hi Dax was great meeting you last night. I am going again just for the “kentucky fried quail” and to get some goats cheesse.

    Take Care, Ling

  5. Hi Dax – that last dessert was the white chocolate mousse from Reuben’s. Oh, yes.

  6. Nice Review Dax (as usual)

    So in a nutshell one is looking at R300 worth of Crowns to make a visit worthwhile – i.e. to taste a similar amount to what you tasted?

    We have basic entry comps but still look like an expensive outing.


  7. Dax, awesome meeting you last night! And thanks for the recommendations, the Tataki was most definitely worth working our way back for! P.S. You forgot to mention the dessert at Societi in the form of the buxom nubile beauty clad only in a bikini!!!

  8. @Simon remember that I shared all of those dishes with my partner and it was quite a lot. I think 4 or 5 per person is max. Don’t forget that glasses of wine also cost crowns, from 3 up to as much as 8 depending on the wine. Although tasters are free.

    @Gene, good to meet you too and glad you enjoyed my recommendation. I was trying to act nonchalant about the bikini clad nubile beauty. But she might be the real reason I’m returning on Friday 😉

    I just need to say, as a word of advice to people who attend Taste of CT, don’t judge the restaurants by this.

    It’s very difficult to make and serve hundreds of dishes from the back of a tent. It’s very brave of them to put their reputation on the line like this and I don’t think it would be fair to write them off if you have a below average tasting from them.

    They are all excellent restaurants. Enjoy the occasion, but rather go and eat at the restaurant and enjoy the full experience because it’s also not only about the food.

  9. Thanks for the writeup, I’m heading there Friday evening and really looking forward to tasting some stunning food !!

  10. We went on thursday evening. Samples tasted –

    Beef tataki – superb

    Chocolate calzone with white choc vodka shot – also excellent but the choc shot stole the show

    highlight of my evening was the prawn and butternut dish from reubens – absolutely unique flavours!! loved every mouthful

    try get into the checkers wine tasting as you get to try some unusual wines (tutored) and taste some of the giggling gourmet’s dishes (a lot of fun)

    evening was superb as usual.. looking forward to next year!

  11. Hi Dax. Great to meet you Wed night. Taste was amazing and I am already planning a return trip this weekend to try all those dishes I never got to. Yes, not a cheap night out, but so worth it. Your recommendations were spot on. Thanks!

  12. Dude, you missed the three best items:
    Bread Wine: Duck Trifle
    Camils: Oysters with ginger and orange
    Overture: The Overburger

  13. Anna Ridgewell

    Hi Dax
    We went last night and Reuben’s mind blowing oxtail was on top of our list!
    Agree with the Scallop and Saffron Risotto – delish!
    The cheeses from Val at Get Stuffed are also a very good buy.
    See you soon!

  14. Hi,
    Going there tomorrow with a couple of mates. Already looking forward to it. I’m looking at all the comments to figure out what to eat. Exciting stuff!!


  15. I loved my visit and even though I thought the Beef Tataki portion was too big (I simply couldn’t break the portion with the plastic fork & had to roll it up – disaster), the rest of the food was great. Green House is worth a first visit, Il Leone’s ragu is excellent and the pavlova at Signal a must.

  16. I went again on Friday night and tried these dishes:

    Lamb Massaman curry from Wang Thai – it wasn’t great but it’s a good size portion and not expensive, so an option for the hungry people.

    Kentucky Fried Quail with sour cream coleslaw and mini corn cob from Maze – this was good, but quite heavy.

    Overburger with truffle mayo from Overture – people have been raving about this but I wasn’t that impressed. They were churning them out which might explain why mine was underdone. It’s a good size dish for the hungry though.

    Sweet & Sour coconut braised oxtail from Reuben’s – this was good.

    I also spent some time at the Patron stand. Five tastings for 5 crowns is good value.

  17. John Smith

    Both the tongue and the oyster dishes at societi were AWESOME, and great value too at 4 crowns for 2 oysters and 4 crowns for the tongue…probably the most reasonably priced restaurant this year