There’s no denying that I’m in love with Benguela on Main. They were one of my top three restaurants of 2016, and chances are they’ll be on that list again this year. Why? Coz they’re just so darn good!

Benguela on Main, if you haven’t heard of it, is the fine dining spot in Somerset West. I’d easily rank it as one of the best in the greater Cape Town area. Chef Jean Delport is an absolute genius in the kitchen. He’s also a totally unassuming one, and his modesty makes his skill even more remarkable. From combinations to flavours to plating, everything Delport sends out of the kitchen is literally to die for. So, here’s a little taste of my last dining event at Benguela on Main ….

The elegant interior …

I joined them for their Night At The Opera evening earlier this month, a dining-and-opera extravaganza. The menu for the night was designed as a five-course set, but with all the little additions and special surprises, the evening turned into a ten-course dining experience!

The lovely garden

Stuffed onion palate cleanser

We started off with a little pre-starter garden platter, designed to look like a beautiful flower garden and included the likes of cornfield-growing corn dogs and herbs grown on site. This was followed by the Stuffed Onion palate cleanser to get diners ready for the next dish: The Black Squid. This dish consisted of seabass, prawns, and asparagus, beautifully plated with squid-dyed crackers (with all the fishy goodness hiding beneath).

Black squid – all the fishy goodness is beneath the squid-dyed cracker

Bread serving

The Black Squid dish was followed by a surprise serving of bread, which looked positively royal, and came served with mushroom and truffle butter. This, in turn, was followed by the Carrot & Scallop dish, served with soft herbs, tortellini, and vermouth. Scallops, if you’ve never had them, are super yum, making this dish a winner.

Carrot and scallop dish

Cured warthog

Soft scallops were followed by the Cured Warthog dish, basically warthog carpaccio served with celeriac, quail’s yolk, and juniper ash. I’ve never had warthog carpaccio before but absolutely loved it, and would rate this as one of my favourite dishes of the evening!

Pistachio-crusted free range beef

We then moved on to the heartier (pistachio-crusted) Free Range Beef dish, served with mustard, kale, Jorgensen’s Gin, and a small portion of beef short rib. It was super yum – full of flavour and beautifully soft! My sister ranked this as her absolute favourite of the evening.

Salted pineapple, celery, and fennel lolly

The hearty beef dish was followed by another palate cleanser, which was as much fun to look at as it was to eat: The Salted Pineapple, Celery & Fennel Lolly. It came served in a little garden with dry ice, giving it that iconic misty look that’s become so famous in fine dining restaurants.

Maca root mousse

With a cleansed palate and ready for more, we moved on to the sweeter dishes. First up was the Maca Root Mousse, which came served with liquorice, purple fig, and white chocolate. The liquorice was great on this one as it broke the intense sweetness of the mousse and white chocolate. And the figs were a great addition as well!

Tree of life

By this time I was already super stuffed – obviously – but there was one more surprise dish to come, one we called The Tree of Life. This was, literally, a metal tree decorated with spongy treats and a treasure chest filled with pralines. I was so full that I could only try two bites of this, but they were two very yummy bites!

As always, Benguela on Main was divine. The food was to die for, the setting beautiful, and the whole evening magical. I can only recommend this spot a hundred times, and am already looking forward to my next visit! For more info on Benguela on Main, check out their official website here.

Thank you Benguela on Main for the absolute spoils, and Sabine, Dean, and Tracey for being excellent company!

We’ll be back soon with more foodie news!

Written by Benike Palfi

Article Date: April 2017