Every year around this time I go visit Dash Restaurant at the Queen Victoria Hotel, and every year I’m pleasantly surprised to find that it’s just as good as the previous year, and yet still holds its status as a secret gem. This confounds me as I fail to understand how a place so stunning can remain so hidden, but I guess there are many reasons for this – it is hard to find, for one, and they’re away from the standard hustle and bustle of the V&A Waterfront. See, Dash Restaurant isn’t just your casual ‘walk by and go in’ restaurant. It’s a destination. Truly, a destination.

I last visited them a little while ago to try the Dash Restaurant Chef’s Table experience. This was my first time at Dash for this, as I generally just go for a quiet dinner with family. But being entertained by a group of people and getting to enjoy a set menu is just as beautiful, and I had the most wonderful time.

What’s In A Name?

Before I go into details of the night, however, I’d like to share with you a quote from the Dash Restaurant Chef’s Table menu, which provides a little insight into where the name ‘Dash’ comes from (something I’d always wondered about):

“The Queen Victoria Hotel’s namesake is unmistakable. Indeed, the hotel’s name pays tribute to Queen Victoria and the instrumental role that she and her son, Prince Alfred, played in the opening of the Breakwater Basin, which subsequently became the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Perhaps less apparent, this fine dining restaurant was also named after an “honorary member” [sic] of the royal family: the Queen’s first dog, a King Charles Spaniel, named Dash.”

Isn’t that just beautiful? As an absolute dog fan, it makes me incredibly happy to know that a restaurant has been named after a four-legged friend! But the food at Dash is definitely not “for the dogs” but certainly fit for a queen!

The Dash Restaurant Chef’s Table Menu

The Dash Restaurant Chef’s Table menu consists of 6 courses with a wine pairing, and while the menu does stay the same for a while, it is subject to change. All items are also available on the standard a la carte menu. The wines we enjoyed on the evening were all courtesy of Creation Wines.

The Starters

We started off with the Mushroom Port Soup, paired with the Creation Reserve Pinot Noir. There’s something incredibly exciting about wild mushrooms, which made this dish incredibly exciting for me. It may be that I’m biased as wild mushroom soup is my go-to staple whenever I visit family in Hungary, and while Hungarian mushroom soup and the Dash mushroom port soup are incredibly different, I did feel that calm and familiar feeling of home whilst enjoying this.

The mushroom port soup was followed by the Candied Beetroot Tarte Tatin, served with salted honeycomb, goat’s cheese mousse, and citrus fruit. A Creation Pinoit Noir accompanied this. To be honest,  I wasn’t expecting much from this dish. Tarts are never my favourite, candied beetroot didn’t sound like something I would generally enjoy, and I’m not the biggest fan of goat’s cheese. So I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious this dish was. It even stood out as one of my top dishes of the night! And the winner – even more surprisingly – of this was the goat’s cheese mousse! Never have I had such beautiful smooth goat’s cheese before (obviously, coz I haven’t had goat’s cheese mousse before) but such a simple thing really does make all the difference.

Next up was the Seared Prawns, served with corn bisque puree, salty nori, burnt corn, and coconut spuma, paired with a Viognier. This dish was one of the top dishes of the night, as voted by all the foodies in attendance. It was delicious indeed, though if I had to choose between this and the Candied Beetroot Tarte, I would have to go for the latter. I’m surprised that I’m even saying that, but, alas, it obviously made an impression.

Dash Restaurant Chef's Table Mushroom port soup

*Mushroom Port Soup

Dash Restaurant Chef's Table candied beetroot

*Candied Beetroot Tarte Tatin

Dash Restaurant Chef's Table seared prawns

*Seared Prawns

The Mains

After the three starters, we moved on to mains. Everyone got a portion of the Seared Salmon, served with saffron mash, fennel bulb, and mussel tomato beurre blanc. After that we had a choice between the Chermoula Lamb Wellington and the Rooibos Smoked Risotto. Being me, I tried a bit of everything, even though my choice of the night was the Lamb Wellington. I’d never had Wellington before and I’m not 100% convinced it’s my favourite, but I am a firm believer in at least trying everything (or almost everything) once. My favourite of all the mains was the salmon. But everyone here had a different favourite so I think it really just depends on your tastebuds!

Dash Restaurant Chef's Table seared salmon

*Seared Salmon

Dash Restaurant Chef's Table lamb wellington

*Lamb Wellington

Dessert and Cheese

Dessert was beautiful. We were served the Chocolate Gelee Mousse, with chocolate almond streusel, mixed berry sorbet, and macerated berries. By this time of the night I felt like a stuffed chicken and sadly couldn’t handle the richness of the dessert despite it’s yumminess, so I had a few bites and then stuck to the mixed berry sorbet and macerated berries.

I couldn’t say no to the post-dessert course though: the Cheese Selection. I’d always wondered why people would order a cheese platter instead of a dessert, but I’ve since realised that after a full meal such as with the Dash Restaurant Chef’s Table menu, cheese really is quite a good option! And what Dash does so beautifully is that they bring around a whole tray filled with delicious cheese, preserves, and biscuits, and you can mix and match as you choose. They have both unusual cheeses as well as a few “normal” ones (like your cheddars), so this really is a cheese lover’s dream. Add in a nice of bunch of sour grapes, and it makes for a perfect end to a perfect evening.

Dash Restaurant Chef's Table dessert

*Chocolate Gelee Mousse

Celebratory Feast

The Dash Restaurant Chef’s Table is as exquisite as any other meal I’ve had there before. If you’re interested, you can travel back in time and read my 2016 review here and my 2015 review here. I’d recommend this spot for date night, a fancy dinner, or a festive season spoil. With the sweet sounds of a piano in the background, the intimacy of a 36-seater restaurant, some G&Ts at the bar, and the delicious food they offer, heading here for any occasion will prove to leave you feeling completely content.

Visit Dash Restaurant at the Queen Victoria Hotel at the V&A Waterfront. They’re open Monday through Sunday from 07:00 until 23:00. For more information, visit their official website here. Since they only seat a small number of guests, booking is recommended. You can call them on +27 21 418 1466 or e-mail them on info@queenvictoriahotel.co.za to make your reservation. For prices on the Dash Restaurant Chef’s Table, please contact the restaurant directly. 

We’ll be back with more foodie news soon! 

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* Photos marked by an asterisk courtesy of Marvin Leugering. Unmarked photos courtesy of Dash Restaurant.

Written by Benike Palfi

Article Date: December 2017