Review: The Reubens Small Plates Menu (And The Magical Salmon)

Reubens Small Plates one and only

There are few things in life as good as fantastic food. Especially if you’re a food-crazed individual like me. I’ve recently discovered that some of the best food in Cape Town can be found at the One & Only. I had the absolute pleasure of dining at Nobu a little while back (OMG), and just recently went to check out the new Reubens Small Plates Menu. You’ll get the full review on Nobu here, but for the Reubens Small Plates, well, read on.

All Good Things Start With A Cocktail

A good night out generally begins with a cocktail (or two), and the Vista Bar at the One & Only is well-suited for this. Not only do they offer amazing views, but they also know how to mix up a wicked cocktail. I had a kumquat/lime one, which was absolutely delicious and the presentation I received as a special treat (complete with dry ice and all) was the envy of everyone there. All the others at the table had an apple chilli one, which had quite a kick to it but was strangely addictive. And, yes, I only know this coz I finished half of Dean’s (InstaEats). Heehee.

Reubens Small Plates cocktail

Kumquat/lime cocktail

Reubens Small Plates cocktail presentation

That presentation!

The Small Plates

After cocktail deliciousness, we headed down to Reubens to sample their Small Plates Menu, a brand new addition that takes some of the standard Reubens goodness and transforms it into more bite-size portions. Small plates are an interesting thing and they’re all the rage at dozens of restaurants across town lately. They have both good and bad qualities – the bad is that on average you’ll end up paying a little more, but the good is that the only reason you’re paying more is coz you’ll be wanting to try more dishes. And that, fellow foodie lovers, is generally a good thing.

We started off the evening with an interesting take on the classic Caprese salad (R125). This is not a dish that I’d often describe as ‘joyful’, but the Reubens small plate Caprese salad is definitely that. It is without a doubt the most delicious concoction I have ever tasted and one that will make any salad enemy fall in love with the healthy side of life. Particularly noteworthy is the absolutely giant ball of buffalo mozzarella stacked in the middle. Delicious!

This was followed by Tastes of Caulilfower (R95), an interesting dish with burnt cauliflower, pickled grapes, almonds, and curry. I’m not much of a curry fan but the cauliflower texture itself was pretty awesome, and the pickled grapes and almonds added some very unique tastes that I hadn’t encountered before.

Reubens Small Plates caprese

Caprese salad

Reubens Small Plates cauliflower

Tastes of cauliflower

Reubens Small Plates salmon

Vanilla-poached salmon

More Small Plates

Next up was the Vanilla-Poached Salmon, served with dill oil and Parmesan crème (R160). I didn’t know life could get better after that Caprese, but oh boy it could! This vanilla-poached salmon is literally to die for. Perhaps you’ve come across vanilla-poached salmon before, but this was a first for me and I am 100% sold. Delicate flavours, beautifully soft, and, of course, utterly gorgeous to look at.

Up next was the braised lamb neck, served with confit garlic, brioche crusts, tomato, and lavender jus (R125). I was still floating in vanilla-poached salmon heaven when this dish came along and I don’t think I gave it quite as much attention as it would have deserved to receive, so I’ll definitely need to make up for it next time I go. That said, the lamb was deliciously soft and well-prepared and totally love-worthy.

Then we moved on to the Skate Wing, roasted with lemon, capers, and burnt butter (R120). I’d never had skate wing before, and while it seems that the fish is popular overseas, it’s never really served in local restaurants. It’s quite a bony fish so eating is a little more of an adventure, but it has a wonderfully unique taste to it. If you’re not a fishy-fish fan then this probably isn’t for you, but I’d recommend everyone else to give this a try.

Our last ‘hearty’ dish of the night was the Wagyu Carpaccio (R125), served with jalapeno, coriander, confit tomato, and spicy soy vinaigrette. I’d also never had this before – this really was an evening of firsts for me! Wagyu carpaccio is an interesting take on traditional carpaccio, slightly thicker in cut, and a lot fattier than any carpaccio you’ve probably ever encountered. The acidity of the vinaigrette is great to cut through the fattiness of the meat though, leaving you with a beautifully tasting dish. Defs something worth trying!

Reubens Small Plates lamb neck

Braised lamb neck

Reubens Small Plates skate wing

Skate wing

Reubens Small Plates wagyu carpaccio

Wagyu carpaccio

Two Desserts Are Better Than One

For dessert, we were spoiled with two dishes. The first was a lovely little concoction including a Hertzog cookie, apricots, mini macaroon, ice cream, and meringue (R80). Beautiful flavours and quite a light dessert. This was followed by the more hearty deconstructed tiramisu, with a little chocolate pot de crème, mascarpone foam, Frangelico gel, cocoa nest, and coffee bean ice cream. Tiramisu seems to be one of those dishes that’s incredibly hard to do well. But this deconstructed one hits all the right spots!

Reubens Small Plates Hertzoggie


Reubens Small Plates Tiramisu

Deconstructed Tiramisu

Try It Out Yourself

All in all, the new Reubens Small Plates Menu is definitely worth the fuss. We “only” tried about half of the menu available and it was all beautiful. So you’re undoubtedly in for a treat no matter what you try. My top recommendations would be the vanilla-poached salmon, wagyu carpaccio, and Caprese salad – with special emphasis on the vanilla-poached salmon!!!!

For more information on the Reubens Small Plates Menu at the One & Only, check out their official website here. You can also browse through the menu over here. I’ll go off to daydream land to fantasise about more small plates …. and we’ll be back soon with more foodie news!

Written by Benike Palfi

Article Date: September 2017