I remember quite a while back I mentioned The Wooden Shoe in passing, saying it didn’t look very appealing. I had someone email me and give me a hard time about that, insisting I should try it before knocking it. So when I was recently invited to dinner there, I was looking forward to seeing how right or wrong I was.
The Wooden Shoe is a steakhouse in the traditional sense of the word: been around for ages, dingy and quirky. Other equivalent venues would be the Nelson’s Eye, Buzby Grill and the original Hussar Grill. I’ve realised I don’t particularly like traditional steakhouses (I did not enjoy Nelson’s Eye at all), I find them to be too dingy, and generally lacking in many areas, especially value.
It seems that traditional steakhouses are frequented by a small loyal following with the occasional ‘visitor’ who usually doesn’t come back. The loyal following will defend their favourite steakhouse with all their strength. So I will probably get some flack for this review.
The Wooden Shoe is a very small restaurant, with about 20 seats inside and another 3 tables outside which won’t be used much in winter. Due to the limited amount of tables, there is only one waiter. While she does a good job, it does mean that you do a lot of waiting before getting attention or receiving whatever you have ordered. The chairs make waiting for service quite uncomfortable as they are hard.
The winelist is short and and inexpensive. It contains wines which we did not recognise so we ordered the wine they were promoting and it was undrinkable. I ordered the 300g fillet with pepper sauce (R133.50), friend from the UK had the plain 300g fillet (R102.50) and flatmate had the pork fillet with mushroom sauce (R102.50). As you can see, the prices are not cheap. My steak was good but not great, certainly not better than the steak I would have at most other restaurants for the same price or less.
The place definitely has character. The decor is themed with clogs all around and the owner is in the tiny kitchen cooking the steaks. You can sit at the bar and watch him cooking the steaks if you like. I’m sure the waitress has been there for ages because she knows what she is doing. So I can see the attraction for the regulars but I won’t be rushing back, I would prefer to go back for the excellent steak I had at Sevruga.
The Wooden Shoe
Cnr Regent & St Johns Roads, Seapoint
021 439 4435