It seems that Cape Town locals rarely visit the V&A Waterfront for dinner. With a reputation of being for tourists only, most of us generally shy away from the seeming luxuriousness of the V&A and find comfort in other parts of town. It’s a pity, really, as there are so many restaurants at the V&A just waiting to be discovered. One of them, which we recently visited, is Karibu.
I’ll be honest, I’m also one of the many locals who rarely chooses the V&A Waterfront as a dinner location. Time and time again I’ve been put off by exorbitant prices.
But I actually really like the Waterfront. I love that parking is affordable (hurray), I love shopping there (even though by shopping I mean running into H&M and Mr Price), I love the views, and I even love the occasional boat cruise, which I’ve found make excellent birthday excursions.
And with all my I Love Foodies visits, I’ve also really come to love many of the restaurants there.
See, I think that many of us immediately assume that V&A restaurants are unaffordable – but that’s not necessarily true. There are definitely some gems. And there are definitely cheaper dishes at all of the restaurants, even the pricier ones.
Covid Has Changed Our World
I guess that’s one good thing about Covid-19.
And I say this knowing full well that this whole year has been absolutely awful for everyone, personally and financially on every level.
But it has given some establishments (and I’m not exclusively referring to restaurants here) the chance to re-look at their target audience and realise that locals have been largely excluded.
Sure, our pockets don’t run as deep but we’re still an awesome bunch and we should have the chance to get to enjoy everything our beautiful city has to offer.
So before I ramble on even further, let me get to the I Love Foodies experience at Karibu.
Locating Karibu at the V&A Waterfront
We visited Karibu on a Tuesday evening and I was quite shocked at how empty the V&A was. It felt a little surreal, walking through paths that are normally bustling.
But there was a sad sense of beauty in all of it.
Karibu is located in the outside section of the V&A, overlooking part of the harbour and offering gorgeous mountain views.
It was a rather coolish evening – coz summer definitely seems severely delayed this year – so we chose to sit inside.
The interior is beautiful – a rather large space but divided into a lower and upper level, with tables and booths, all bathed in a warm light.
The highlight of it all, for me, is the amazing wine collection that runs along one side of the restaurant. The wine selection is definitely one of Karibu’s strongpoints but I’ll get back to that a little later.
The Karibu Menu & Prices
Yes, Karibu is expensive — but it does depend quite significantly on what you choose. On average, though, you’re looking at R90 for starters, R250 for mains, and R70 for desserts.
Currently, Karibu is also running some amazing specials:
- R125 for 6 king prawns
- R99 for a 220 g rump steak
These specials have been specifically designed for locals and are definitely an amazing deal.
The menu as a whole features a large selection of venison, traditional specialities, steaks, seafood, vegan and vegetarian options, and a surprising number of bredies.
The Magic Lies In The Wine
The Karibu wine list is like none other. But what really sets Karibu apart is Daniel, their master sommelier.
I have worked with numerous sommeliers in my years with I Love Foodies but the experience at Karibu was like nothing I’ve ever encountered before.
Usually, sommeliers merely recommend wine pairings based on what you’re eating. But Daniel worked out what would be best for us as individuals.
So, to start off the evening, he engaged in some lovely chitchat, trying to decipher what sort of flavours we enjoy and what we don’t really like.
This wasn’t an interview-style analysis, though. He let me ramble on for a good ten minutes while I tried very hard to find the best words to describe what I thought would be great. Turns out, it’s surprisingly difficult to explain when you’re put on the spot.
But Daniel made mental notes of everything, and his wine choices were exceptional.
For Sabine, he chose:
- The Berrio “Weather Girl” 2017 White Blend (R150) to pair with her cheese starter
- Springfield “Work of Time” 2013 Red Blend (R250) to pair with her lamb mains
For me, he chose:
- Tierhoek 2015 Chardonnay (R98) to pair with my carpaccio starter
- Stellenrust Cinsaut 2016 (R105) to pair with my venison mains
Sabine and I like similar wines – we are sisters, after all – but with subtle differences and he was able to select wines that not only paired well with the dishes but that suites us perfectly.
I thought Sabine’s wines were nice – but I thought mine were fantastic. And she thought mine were nice – but hers were fantastic.
That’s testament to an excellent selection.
So now that I’ve already teased at the food we had, let’s dive into our full meals.
Dining At Karibu
Camembert & Brie
Sabine knew right away that she wanted to try the Duo Of Camembert and Brie (R98).
Described as “a harmony of two cheeses coated with black and white sesame seeds, fried, served with roosterkoek and a green fig preserve”, this dish was everything it promised to be.
Even though the sesame was a little overwhelming, the sesame seed crust itself was a welcome change from the conventional deep-fried crust.
It also makes this a great dish to choose if you want something hearty but are following a low carb diet or are trying to avoid carbs in general.
Trio Of Carpaccio
I had a harder time deciding what to choose. I was torn between the Salmon Rösti (R135), Snoek Pate (R85), and Springbok Carpaccio (R119).
Eventually, I went for the Chef’s recommendation of trying the trio of carpaccio – ostrich, springbok, and smoked crocodile.
This starter is not listed on the menu but they do always have it available, so you can ask for it directly.
I really like being able to try a mixture of flavours. Especially if you’re venturing out in trying different types of venison, which is less common in South Africa than you’d think, it makes sense to get a platter and try different meats.
Of course, I’m from Namibia so venison is the meat I’m most familiar with – and the one I most love. I had tried ostrich, springbok, and crocodile before but this was my first time having carpaccio of each of these – and my first time trying smoked crocodile.
Ostrich and springbok are always great. Springbok has a more ‘game-y’ flavour than ostrich but I still really like it.
Crocodile is much like ‘wild’ chicken and I’ve never been a big fan – but this smoked crocodile was great! The smokey flavour definitely comes through the most, making it tons more delicious.
Choosing mains wasn’t any easier.
Karibu has some pretty delectable options, including the Ostrich Fillet (R275), Springbok Shank (R245), Venison Medallions (R265), Venison Potjie (R198), Lamb Shank (R248), and Oxtail (R295).
Sabine ended up choosing the lamb shank, slow-roasted in rosemary, garlic and red wine, and served with herbed mash.
This was definitely very flavourful and fall-off-the-bone delicious, though I do think it’s a tad pricey for what you’re getting.
Giant Venison Skewer
I ended up choosing the Giant Venison Skewer (R289) – an assortment of prime venison, glazed with the Karibu Amarula sauce and served with stewed peaches.
I also think this dish is a tad pricey BUT it was phenomenal. The skewer doesn’t look like much when you first get it but it’s actually a massive portion and every single bite is delicious.
I also really liked the Amarula sauce but it is served on the side, so you can choose how much of it you want with your meat.
All in all, this dish was fantastic and I’d definitely go back and have this again.
Karibu has so many desserts that sound delicious.
They’re also one of the few places I know of that have a Fresh Fruit Salad (R79) listed as a dessert, which is something I grew up with. It’s such a fantastic idea for anyone craving something a little sweeter without having to indulge in a massive calorie bomb.
Other notable options include the Classic Cape Malva Pudding (R69), V&A Creme Brûlée with Amarula (R92), Death by Chocolate (R165), and the Cape Brandy Pudding (R89).
I went for the Stewed Peaches (R79) — stewed Cape yellow peaches with vanilla sauce and cream (or ice cream). I couldn’t possibly think of a better dessert.
It gave me everything I wanted – a little sweetness, tons of goodness, and a whole lot of happiness.
Yes, it’s simple but this may just have made it to the top of my favourite desserts of the year.
Sabine didn’t have dessert and opted for an Irish coffee instead — served in a traditional coffee mug instead of the conventional Irish coffee serving, which greatly enhanced the flavour of the Irish coffee
Surprisingly, I also enjoyed her Irish coffee — and I’m not usually an Irish coffee fan!
Karibu Kiss Cocktail
To conclude it all, we enjoyed a Karibu Kiss cocktail with Amarula, Frangelico, banana liquor and vanilla ice cream, and topped with the cutest chocolate elephant.
This cocktail itself is a full dessert but it’s absolutely delicious and I would highly recommend you try this if you’re a fan of the ingredients!
Visit Karibu At The V&A Waterfront
We had a fantastic time at Karibu.
The food is pricey but very good, the ambience is beautiful, and the sommelier himself makes the visit worth it.
The service itself was a little lacking and very much on the slow side, which it had no reason to be considering it was a quiet evening. But everyone was superbly friendly, and, for me, that’s what counts.
I would definitely visit Karibu again.
You’ll find all the details below.
Address: Shop 156, The Wharf Centre, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Call: +27 21 421 7005/6
Article Date: December 2020
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