The Carne Month Of Pork Special: Rediscovering My Love For Food
There are very few restaurants in Cape Town that are regarded as ‘an institution’. You know, those restaurants that have been here for ages, restaurants that have stood the test of time and survived Cape Town’s fickle ‘hip cultureness’ that moves from boo to baa within six months. Trends come and go, restaurants come and go, but these institutions remain. And for good reason, obviously. One such restaurant is Carne on Keerom.
I first visited Carne on Keerom many years back with my (in)significant other, and, to be honest, I can’t remember too much of the experience except that a table of producers and directors I had just shot with on that very day were sitting in the far back corner of the restaurant, I wasn’t dressed to impress, and I felt very uncomfortable, so my boyfriend and I shared a meal and off we went. Which was obviously not the love and attention a place like Carne deserves. Since then, I’ve heard people rave about Carne left, right, and centre, and the spot has definitely been on my radar for a while.
Revisiting Carne on Keerom
So when an invite popped up in my inbox to come experience the new Carne Month of Pork offering this June, I couldn’t even read past the first line – Carne was the magic word and nothing could keep me from this! So off I went to meet a crowd of media I’d never met before, was greeted with a glass of Steenberg bubbly (oh my), and shown to my seat – at that very table were the producers and directors sat all those years ago. Things really do come full circle, don’t they?
But this experience was quite the opposite. I wasn’t hiding from anyone … and, no, I wasn’t dressed to impress either, though I did actually throw on some heels, which in my casual world is quite something. Ok, boots. I wore boots with heels. And that is dressing up. But from the moment I walked in to Carne to the moment I left … gosh, even now while I’m writing this, I was enthralled.
If you’ve ever been to Carne, you’ll know that there’s the ground level bar area, and then there’s the lower level dining area. It’s like stepping into a cave where the magic things happen and then you emerge again at the end of the night wondering if everything you’d just experienced was just a dream and if your pumpkin carriage is waiting outside to take you back to the real world.
The Carne Month of Pork
But it is real, indeed, and there to be experienced at any time. But I digress. Let’s get to the food. As mentioned, I visited to try the Carne Month of Pork June offering, which is a little different. Yes, Carne specialises in all things meaty, but for this month they’ll be serving up some dishes that aren’t usually on their menu. We got to try tasting portions of a few of these dishes, but note that the actual portion sizes will be much larger than the tasting portions I tried. The Carne Month of Pork is running at both restaurants, Carne on Keerom and Carne on Kloof.
Things To Start
So, to start, we had some meatballs, sourdough bread, and onion bread rolls. Apparently the sourdough is made from a 150-year-old mother dough originally from Milan, to which every foodie would say ‘wooow’ and every non-foodie would say ‘gross’. But – if it’s true – that’s pretty impressive. But for those who only care if it’s tasty or not, don’t despair, tastiness you will receive!
The Pork Main Acts
Our glasses were filled with the Steenberg 2016 Stately Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz, a remarkably easy-drinking red that went down particularly well. And out came the dishes. We had the most divine crumbed pork cutlet – made real well, much to the delight of my German soul. Tender, full of flavour, deliciously salty – just the way it should be.
This was followed by penne with pork ribs. I’ll add in an OMG here as no words in the English language could describe how good this was. The meat literally fell off the bone; the penne was perfect. This truly was next level. And consider this: The dish came with a tomato base, and you all know I don’t do tomato-base pasta. But this. Next level deliciousness.
From there we had pork neck with grilled sweet potato and mash. The pork neck was lovely but this was the one dish I found a bit too fatty and sinewy. But the mash was so good I hardly even cared. Then we had the pork belly with baby brussel sprouts and spinach, and, finally, the pork chop with red cabbage, vinegar, and mustard. Both amazing, with the perfect combination of textures. The crackling was amazing. I could have had a plate with just crackling and I would have been in heaven.
The 450 Degree Oven
Meat at Carne is exceptional. And do you want to know why? Because they cook it at 450 degrees! That’s quite something, and requires an expert griller to stick your meat in for a few minutes only to create the perfect smokey flavour and delicious crunch. Basically what this means is that dishes at Carne cannot be reproduced at home, no matter how hard you try – unless, of course, you have an oven that can heat up to 450 degrees!
You’d think that after all of these pork dishes you’d be overwhelmed with the porky flavour. Not the case. Each dish was so unique, so different, that it really was like a tastebud explosion every single time.
Getting To Dessert
We ended off the experience with a sublime pineapple sorbet, some baked chocolate tartlets, and an incredibly smooth Italian Covim cappuccino – the perfect ending to a perfect evening.
The Amazingness That Is Carne
I’m honestly in awe of how amazing this dinner was. For the last little while I’ve been feeling very bleak about life coz I haven’t been WOWed by food – which, as a foodie, is a little concerning. But Carne gave me my groove back and renewed that fire within me that dances to the suggestion of good food. Luckily, since my visit at Carne just over a week ago I’ve discovered a few more places that have set my foodie soul on fire – more on these soon.
I’ll have to add: Even though we didn’t order from the regular menu, I did have a quick squiz at their prices, and I’m rather surprised. I had remembered Carne as being superbly expensive, but now, comparing it to all the restaurants I eat at and all the prices I see, Carne is surprisingly well-priced. Sure, it’s not your corner shop café, but considering how good this food is and how amazing the experience was – and yours undoubtedly will be – I’m genuinely surprised at how relatively well-priced Carne is.
Chef-proprietor Giorgio Nava undoubtedly knows what he’s doing, and you’ll catch me there again any day. In a heartbeat.
The Carne Month Of Pork deal runs for the whole month of June, and rumour has it that lamb is up next. It’s available at both Carne on Keerom and Carne on Kloof.
Carne on Keerom
Address: 70 Keerom Street, Cape Town CBD
Opening Times: Monday – Saturday (18:30 – 22:00)
Call: +27 21 424 3460
Article Date: June 2018
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All information correct at time of publication. We do not accept any liability caused by errors, including, but not limited to, changes in price, menu, opening times, address, or other contact details.