Name it and claim it
17 August 2012 | SIBUSISO MKWANAZI
So when it was time to update their a la carte menu, they had to think as far out of the box as possible to stand out from the local competition.
For starters, the chef and his associates decided to maintain the theme of being au corrant by brainstorming names such as “Mushroom Cloud” (roasted potobello soaked in hot balsamic rosemary jam, filled with a creamy blue cheese and biltong slivers), “Duck and Dive” (Shanghai mixed-spice duck breast carpaccio on a bed of rocket, grilled coconut, mango and wasabi oil drops) and “Just Butt Out”, which is a burger made up of spicy sweet potato and butternut, brinjal marmalade and dhanya cream.
Such zany names are backed up by a combination of three or more distinct tastes.
This is accomplished by using jam, marmalade and honey (sweet), chillis and wasabi (hot) as well as lemon zest, blue cheese, ginger and other foods that have a sharp but welcome bite.
These core foods are prevalent in some of the dishes and each time you spot them on the menu, you’ll know your taste buds can be guaranteed an interesting few minutes.
What regular patrons will be ecstatic about are the seafood options that have, until now, been limited to the chain’s Cape Town hotels.
Placed in the “Finding Nemo” part of the menu, there is now grilled Norwegian salmon served on wasabi mash with a Vietnamese dressing and the “Big Catch” (West Coast crayfish tail with melon shots and shrimp rice).
What is probably the most refreshing aspect of the menu is how the chef has incorporated African dishes into his offerings. Too often, when terms such as “über chic” and “cutting edge” are bandied about, those involved tend to exclude Africa and what it can contribute.
Inkukhu Emnandi (half a spatchcock chicken basted with lemon and thyme) and Ulusu ne Dombolo, which is traditionally cooked tripe are dishes that are not usually easily available.
The only drawback of the menu is the lack of creativity when it comes to the names of the African dishes.
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