There are so many great things in our foodie world. In Cape Town, we have great food, great service, and great venues. But most of the time they come in different combinations. Great food, okay service, good venue. Good food, bad service, great venue. Great food, terrible service, perfect venue. Three ‘greats’? That does not happen every day. A dining experience where you would not change one single thing? That is a rare thing indeed.
A little while back I attended the launch party of the new Cowboys and Cooks restaurant in De Waterkant. It was one hell of a party – probably one of my favourites of 2019. But because you cannot really review the food or space at a party, I immediately set up a review date. This was a place I definitely wanted to come back to. Feeling that Benike was missing out on loads of foodie goodness, I set up the review for the day after her return from London. #Goodsister, right?
Hello Cowboys & Cooks
I grabbed my poor temperature-shocked sister on the beautiful sunny Sunday after her arrival and off we went to explore what Cowboys and Cooks had to offer. The restaurant itself is a great space with lots of different areas. There is also a cool library room I totally want to eat in the next time I visit. Even though the furniture is dark, the entire space is light, airy and fresh, and almost happy in its energy. You can’t help but feel comfortable in this space. The music was upbeat and happy, without being too loud, and it literally looked like every single one of the wait staff was happy to be there.
We were offered to review the special (a pretty good deal, more on that later) but chose to order from the menu instead. Sometimes specials, as good as they may be, can be limiting and don’t always show the best the restaurant has to offer. As much as I love a good special, sometimes it just makes more sense to order from the menu and provide a proper and almost timeless review. So that is what we did, and boy, am I happy that we did.
All Good Things Start With Water?
Being a Sunday lunch and having a huge amount of work to do after meant that I would stick to water. Benike, however, could delve into the wine menu and picked out a beautiful glass of Flagstone Truth Tree Pinotage (R65). I was instantly mad at the work I had ahead of me as this was a very good choice indeed. Luckily, being my sister’s, I could happily pinch a few sips of her wine.
Let’s Start (Really)
I think it’s virtually impossible for Benike to not order bone marrow if it’s on the menu. It was, and she did. The Charcoal Oven-Roasted Bone Marrow (R72) was served with gratinated parmesan and crispy herb crumbs, a lemon vinaigrette, tossed parsley salad, and toasted ciabatta. Bursting with flavour, this was everything you would want in that dish and Benike was super happy.
I ordered the Flame-Grilled Large Black Mushroom (R75) with parmesan, truffle-infused mushroom sauce, exotic mushrooms, spinach, Danish feta, and basil emollition. Super yum! Cowboys and Cooks definitely serve large starter portions. Most of the time in Cape Town I feel cheated with starters. But not here. Good decent portions all around. Whohoo!
Mains, Mains, Glorious Mains
With Cowboys and Cooks being a steakhouse, it meant we just had to order the steak. Of course, that is also my favourite thing to order, so yay! But worth mentioning is that Cowboys and Cooks also has a decent Vegan menu, which I did not expect. Anyways. Benike has always loved ostrich and it doesn’t often show up on menus in Cape Town. Luckily for her, the menu had the following: Ostrich loin with a cranberry reduction and segmented citrus segments (R199).
When it comes to meat, I prefer rump or rib-eye over most other cuts. I may be the only person who doesn’t much enjoy fillet. So I went ahead and ordered a 250g portion of the rump (R150). All mains are served with a choice of fries, baked potato and sour cream, or charcoal oven-roasted butternut and spinach at an additional R10. We chose the baked potato and veg mix.
Benike’s ostrich was pretty perfect. Just enough sweet from the cranberry to complement the unique flavour of the meat. The citrus segments were an interesting but most delicious addition. As for my rump? Perfection. Full of flavour, cooked perfectly. I had ordered a Café de Paris sauce but completely forgot about it because the steak was so good on its own. Again, Cowboys and Cooks had presented us with decent portions, beautifully presented, oh so delicious, and at a very reasonable price.
Let’s Be Gracious
We at I Love Foodies have met many a waiter. Many are good, some are terrible, but only very few are excellent and deserve special mention and get a five-hearts rating on our unofficial waitro-meter. Enter Gracious, our incredible waitress at Cowboys and Cooks. Knowing the menu is one thing, but having that magical touch of just the right amount of attention, infused with humour and light-heartedness, is another. It is a very rare thing indeed. So thank you, Gracious!
We noted throughout our visit that all the waiters were attentive and on the ball and that says a lot about training. We later learned that this is a huge deal at Cowboys and Cooks. I think it’s especially commendable that these waiters have tasted the entire menu and know exactly what they are talking about when recommending dishes, etc. Many a restaurant could take a page out of the Cowboys and Cooks Wait Staff Training Book.
Panna Cotta Magic
I had tried the panna cotta dessert at the launch. Actually, I tried it twice, coz it was so good. Benike, however (being absent and all), had not tried this goodness, and so had to order it. As I remembered it to be, the Yogurt Panna Cotta with Amaretto-infused berry coulis (R69) was to die for. My sis agreed! I pinched a few more bites than I had intended whilst sipping on my version of dessert, the trusted flat white.
Visit Cowboys & Cooks
We both loved our experience at Cowboys and Cooks. We loved the space, we loved the service, and we loved the food. And no, we wouldn’t change a thing. And yes, we will visit again. First, though, to try out the lunchtime special. Basically R138 gets you a starter (Cauliflower soup/ Calamari tubes/ peri-peri chicken livers/ tomato and bocconcini salad) and a main (rump/ sirloin/ line fish).
A huge thank you to our waitress, Gracious, to the manager, Lisa, and to the always amazing Marina for setting it all up.
Cowboys & Cooks
Address: 4 Liddle Street, De Waterkant
Opening Times: Monday – Sunday (12:00 – 23:00)
Call: +27 21 879 2352
Article Date: January 2020
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