A restaurant that opened in October last year when the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel and Residence opened in Green Point is 1800°, named after a special New York-style griller which grills steaks from the top at 1800 degrees F (982° C), our waiter Emmanuel told us on arrival at the table.   The restaurant has established itself for its excellent steaks.

Given the 5-star grading of the Hotel, the interior decor of the restaurant is disappointing, it being ‘all over the place’ – tables are placed next to each other, but separated by cane screens, which means that you can hear every word the couple next door says, but you cannot see them at all, much like sitting in a confession box!    The benches at the walls of the restaurant are covered in a brown fabric, with random white stripes, and garish plastic-like yet fresh orange/yellow flower arrangements above each.   The restaurant is very brightly lit, and the music cannot be heard, as the noise level of the patrons rises as the evening wears on.

Emmanuel introduces the restaurant by telling us where the cloakrooms are located, an interesting but important touch.  He talks us through the menu, describing almost every dish as “lovely”, and recommending all of them highly.  Yet, he feeds back that the chef is not recommending the sirloin on the particular evening, as it is too tough – 10/10 for this honesty!   He explains about the flavoured salts, “infused with herbs”, that one can select from a list, to enhance the steak, and brings a sample of three salts to the table.   A selection of sauces – Argentinian, German mustard, Italian mushroom and herb – and more can be ordered with the steak, and a starch comes with the dish.  A side salad and vegetables can be ordered, at a most reasonable R 16 each.   The fillet steak costs R 130 for 200 grams, 300 grams cost R 160 and 400 grams cost R 190, while the 200 gram rump costs R 120 and 300 gram R 140.   A discount of 10 % off the price of the steaks is running in August, but the waiter does not tell us that.  

Starters are mainly soups and salads, and cost R 35 – R 60.  The linefish of the day costs R 97, and other main courses are reasonably priced.   Desserts cost R 37 – 48, and are predictable – chocolate bomb, coconut pannacotta, lime tart, creme brulee,  ice cream and sorbet.

The Manager Lauren arrives at the table soon after we arrive, to check on things, but as we have not received anything yet except the winelist and menus, we cannot answer her question as to how we are doing.

The restaurant fills up quickly on a Friday evening, and soon the waiter is hardly to be seen.  The wait for the steak is quite long, but worth it, as both the fillet and the rump are outstanding.  The flavoured salt does little to add to its delicious taste, and the sauces are excellent.

On tasting the 2007 Brampton Shiraz, the customer proclaims that it needs a lot of breathing.  The bottle of wine is placed on a nearby table, and the customer only sees that the screwtop has been placed back on the bottle by Emmanuel when he pours more wine in the glasses.   This is a serious deficiency in Emmanuel’s training.

Lauren, the Manager, is very attentive as the evening wears on, and comes to the rescue in describing the ingredients and preparation of a chocolate dessert special.   While the customer does not choose the chocolate dessert, the chef sends a complimentary slice to the table anyway.  The chef sends his business card too, asking for feedback of his food. 

The bill arrives with a spoonful of chocolate truffle for each diner, almost as if the bill has to be sweetened.   The automatic deduction of the 10 % discount off the cost of the steaks is commendable, as it was not mentioned during the evening – the steak special is printed on a piece of paper, and lies at the reception desk.  

On paying at the reception desk, due to the wait to have the payment taken,  Cheny at the front desk asks the “plastic” question as to how the customers enjoyed the “experience”!  The customer asks what ‘experience’ she is referring to, as it is a restaurant much like any other, just lacking in atmosphere.  

Underground parking is available for free, and can be arranged with the doorman on arrival.

The total cost for 2 steaks, one dessert, the bottle of Brampton Shiraz and a cappuccino was R 405.

Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com