I Had Dinner At HQ Date Night And Ended Up In New York

HQ Date Night lounge

There’s no need to introduce HQ. They’re famous to all Cape Town dwellers as the spot to go to for steak, especially on their Date Night evenings when it’s literally a two-for-one experience on salads, steak, fries, and red wine. We visited them recently to kick of February with some date night happiness. Note, though, that date doesn’t need to be ‘we’re in a relationship and make babies’. I went with my sister – and family dates are even better!

Everyone who has been to HQ will know that it’s a little tight. You know, think Economy Class, not Business. So if you’re precious about your personal space – or are meeting someone to discuss top secret plans to take over the world – well, then, you know, this might not be for you. I’ve discovered, though, that the way to avoid this problem is to go out for an early dinner. Which is exactly what we did, and it was wonderful to enjoy the HQ ambiance without having to hear the guys at the neighbouring table chew.

HQ Date Night space

Now it may seem that I’m emphasising the constricted table arrangement of the restaurant – which I am – but only because I’m well aware that this isn’t for everyone. And someone who enjoys a little more space and privacy will not enjoy this restaurant, no matter how delicious the food may be (quick note though: there are a few more casual lounge areas available so you can always check those out). But for those who don’t mind, well, read along – there’s some steak goodness awaiting you!

The Date Night Deal

The Date Night special is this: For R280, you’ll get to enjoy two glasses of Boschendal red wine, two starter salads, and two portions of the famous HQ steak with Café de Paris butter and fries. Say whaaat? Exactly. It’s an absolutely amazing deal, and it runs every Tuesday.

Summer Salads

Boschendal is amazing, always, so the wine is top-notch. And the HQ starter salad is probably one of my favourite salads out there. It’s super simple – crisp cos and iceberg lettuce with toasted pine nuts, parmesan shavings, and a vinaigrette dressing – but it’s amazingly delicious. The toasted pine nuts add that crunch of deliciousness, the parmesan shavings add heaps of flavour, and the cos and iceberg lettuce are super fresh. The perfect light summer salad!

HQ Date Night salad

The Main Act

And then, of course, the main act, the HQ steak. If you didn’t know, HQ only does steak, apart from a few tapas, of course. I’ve had a bite of their tapas once about a year ago and did enjoy them, but as far as mains go you can choose from steak, steak, or steak. For the Date Night you’ll get to enjoy a 250g grilled sirloin steak, topped with the HQ Café de Paris butter, and served with a side of (bottomless) skinny fries.

The HQ Café de Paris butter is amazing, and it really pulls this dish together. And the fries, well, I don’t like fries – but I find the HQ fries strangely addictive. They’re also bottomless so you can have as many fries as you want! What we got served on the plate was more than enough for me, but if you’re any size bigger – or a man – then you’ll probably enjoy the bottomless side of things.

HQ Date Night

HQ Date Night steak

HQ Date Night Fries

But Wait, There’s More

That’s the HQ Date Night in a nutshell. And I’ll add an infomercial tagline here: But wait, there’s more! There’s also a live singer on Date Night, and you’ll find yourself serenaded by the sweet sounds of Moonriver or Frank Sinatra or otherwise classically romantic tunes. Sitting there, enjoying my steak, listening to music, the whole atmosphere felt very New York. And that, that I love.

I enjoy my experience at HQ every time I go – and I’ve been a number of times. It’s simple, but filling and delicious. The service is always outstanding (big kudos to our waiter Olden for being so amazing), the live music entertaining, and if it’s not too crowded it’s a comfortable and beautiful evening out.

The Details

Make sure you catch Date Night next Tuesday (hey, that’s today, wink wink) for a classic favourite. HQ  is situated at 100 Shortmarket Street in the CBD. Booking is a must if you want a guaranteed table, so you can give them a call on +27 21 424 6373 or pop them an e-mail on info@hqrestaurant.co.za. For more info, check out the I Love Foodies directory entry here or visit their website here.

*Photos courtesy of HQ (it’s a little dark in the there; my old rusty iPhone struggled to get good snapshots)

Written by Benike Palfi
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Article Date: February 2018

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