The New Menu At 126 Cape Kitchen And Café At The Hilton Is Totally Drool-Worthy
One never really expects much from hotel restaurants. And, if one does, then it’s generally along the lines of ultra fine dining. So you can imagine my surprise when I recently went to go check out the new menu at 126 Cape Kitchen & Café at the Hilton Cape Town – and was absolutely blown away.
Now, the Hilton Cape Town is known to be a fully Halaal restaurant and, for the past little while, it’s offered a unique fine dining menu that combines a variety of culinary styles. But about half a year ago Chef Tamryn jumped on board, and since then the whole restaurant has undergone a major reshuffle – resulting in the brand new menu that was just recently launched.
The Restaurant Feel And New Menu Vibes
126 Cape Kitchen and Café is very obviously a hotel restaurant with that “I can do dinner and breakfast and any time in between” feel, but it’s also very comfortable, with good seating, lots of space, and dim lighting. Great for romantic nights out. Not so great for food photography. Definitely my eternal Catch 22 as I always want the best of both worlds. But my friend Nads – who follows the Halaal diet and was ecstatic that she could finally join me on a food review and not be limited in what she could have – and I found a pretty good table and settled in for the night.
Browsing through the menu, we didn’t quite know what to expect. It’s a relatively small menu, but still with lots of variety. There were a few local favourites – as there should be in a Halaal restaurant, with loads of curries and Indian cuisine. There were also restaurant staples like burgers and grills … and then there were some bizarre delicious things like poke bowl and slow-braised lamb. We wanted to try it all.
Starters To Die For
So, for starters, Nads went the adventurous route and opted for what stood out most: the Salmon Poke Bowl (R135), served with Norwegian salmon sashimi, cucumber ribbons, bean sprouts, pickled heirloom carrots, avocado, spiced red cabbage, edamame beans, spring onions, and Japanese mayo. I went for the slow-braised oxtail terrine (R115), served with buttered brioche, black garlic, charred cauliflower, puree, parsley coulis, apple chutney, and shaved tenderstem broccoli.
Now, at first we thought those prices were quiet steep considering these are starter portions – but when the plates came out we realised this was definitely not the case. They may be listed as starters, but make a whole meal by themselves – or the perfect starter to share. Both our starters were two things: Absolutely huge and absolutely divine. And absolutely beautiful, of course, but you can see that from the pictures.
The poke bowl was beautiful, full of interesting flavours and stunning flavour combinations, and certainly the most astounding poke bowl I’ve ever seen. And my slow-braised oxtail terrine was hearty and yet full of delicate flavours, like the perfect home-cooked meal with that dash of extra yumminess.
Going In For More (aka Mains)
To be honest, if I had known starters were this big I probably would have wanted to share one coz we were already pretty full when mains came around. Nads couldn’t decide so she ended up going for the 200g fillet (R160) with the fynbos & wild garlic rub, together with half a portion of the smoked tomato risotto (this isn’t on the menu per say; full portion priced at R105). The steak was yum, but we both weren’t fans of the smoked tomato risotto. This is one of the restaurant’s top sellers though, so the smoked tomato taste must be a matter of personal preference.
I stayed on my slow-braised train and went for the slow-braised lamb shank (R225), served with minted pea puree, crisp pea shoots, buttered heirloom carrots, rooibos tea smoked mash, and brown onion gravy. The portion, again, was absolutely massive, and I could only finish a quarter – but enjoyed the rest for lunch the next day. Like with the slow-braised starter, the flavours here were wonderful, the meat superbly tender, and everything very, very yum. (great vocab there, right? Haha).
No Space For More
We couldn’t possibly fit in dessert, but possible delicious-sounding options included a lime and basil panna cotta (R65), coffee and chocolate crème brulee (R70), mange tarte tatin (R75), and a milk tart and citrus cheesecake (R70).
The Final Verdict – And Getting There
Would I go back? In a heartbeat. I’d probably opt, as mentioned, for shared starters and two mains, or, alternatively, starters and desserts. The starters did definitely stand out for both of us and left us uhhing and ahhing all night long! Thoroughly impressed by the new menu at 126 Cape Kitchen and Café! Good food with that home-cooked flair, massive portions, and oodles of deliciousness.
I’d like to add in that Chef Tamryn came out to speak to us during the course of the evening, and she’s just the sweetest soul with her head and heart definitely in the right place.
For more about the new menu at 126 Cape Kitchen and Café at the Hilton Cape Town, visit their I Love Foodies restaurant directory entry here. The restaurant is open seven days of the week with dinner served from 18:00. The menu is also available for lunch though, served from 12:30 to 15:00. May we recommend that Salmon Poke Bowl?
Article Date: March 2018
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