Not-So-Messy Dining at The Mess
Last week I got to enjoy the new restaurant in town that everyone’s been raving about: The Mess. I didn’t know much about the place before visiting it, except that some of my most trusted fellow foodies raved about it! So I was pretty excited to join in on the media luncheon.
Turns out, The Mess is situated where Café Dijon used to be, and if you’ve read my previous reviews on that place, you will know that I absolutely love the space. Café Dijon may no longer be there, but some of that magic remains, and I felt right at home walking in to The Mess.
We started the media luncheon with bubbly and a few of the house cocktails. They looked absolutely delicious, but I stuck to the bubbly on this one. After some chitchat we all sat down, ready for a tasting menu of the restaurant’s finest dishes. I was lucky enough to sit diagonally opposite owner Carlene de Gouveia and could enjoy her company and insights throughout the luncheon, making this a most interesting experience.
Now, before I delve into the foodie world, you might be wondering where the name ‘The Mess’ comes from. It refers to the habit of soldiers and sailors eating together in the 15th century. The term ‘mess’ came to be associated with both the habit of eating together and also the communal dining space. And this is exactly the type of feeling that The Mess attempts to recreate – quite successfully, I’d say. The restaurant focuses on sharing dishes, creating a community of dining where friends can sit and eat together.
This focus on sharing worked quite perfectly for the media luncheon, as we all shared the dishes that were brought out. We started off with some Saldanha Bay oysters with a mignonette vinaigrette and a confit pork belly with smoked apple and braised cabbage (probably my favourite dish of the day).
This was followed by a whole array of starters, including yoghurt & thyme flatbreads, served with duck rillette, white bean pate, and pickled goat’s cheese, a tuna ceviche, served on a won ton tostada with avocado, spring onion, and coriander, beef tataki, served with a ponzu dressing and a cucumber & mooli salad, and pork belly tacos, which came served with barbeque mayo and a smoked apple & charred corn slaw. And those were just the starters!
This, in turn, was followed by the mains: Potato gnocchi with the most divine samphire salad with courgettes, asparagus & a lemon dressing, an aubergine & fior de latte Melanzane, pork loin ribs with a char sui basting, and an angus ribeye steak with herb butter.
You’d think it’d be impossible to have all of that food, but the sharing approach of the restaurant makes it very possible indeed. I loved it as I could pick a little from each platter and create my own perfect meal! My top recommendations would be the confit pork belly, the beef tataki, and the angus ribeye. These were definitely the dishes I kept on wanting more of and those would probably also be my top picks next time. Though, that said, I’d have to see what’s on the menu. The Mess focuses on seasonal dining, so they offer a small standard menu with frequent changes and a blackboard list of weekly specials. So there might just be something new that will grab my eye (and tummy).
By this point I was already pretty full. Actually, I was pretty full before but the plate of angus ribeye was right in front of me and it was so delicious that I kept on grabbing more! Nonetheless, I was urged not to leave The Mess without having tried their crème brulee. I’m so glad I could still try this one. I’m a huge crème brulee fan, and this is possibly one of the best crème brulees I have ever had! But, you know, just to be sure I think I’ll have to go back and try it again 😉
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience here and would definitely be back to experience it with a group of friends. With good food and some wine flowing, I’m sure this will be the perfect spot for a grand evening out! You can visit The Mess at 15 Napier Street in Green Point, Monday – Saturday from 18:00. For more info, check out our directory entry here. You can also visit their website here.
* Photos marked with an asterisk courtesy of The Mess
Review Date: October 2016