Yesterday my friend Jenny and I enjoyed a spoiling lunch at Mondiall Kitchen & Bar in the V&A Waterfront, to experience their new Winter Menu, an invitation extended by Five Star PR. It was a glorious summer day in what is meant to be winter already, and one wishes the restaurant a hasty arrival of winter, to match the new Winter Menu of new Chef Stephen Mandes!
Mondiall has celebrated three years in the Waterfront, originally a joint project between current owner Patrick Symington and Chef Peter Tempelhoff, but the chef left the partnership a year ago. Chefs Oliver Cattermole and Riaan Burger have headed up the kitchen in the past, which was taken over by Chef Stephen in March, arriving from Hermanus. Chef Stephen was the co-owner of La Vierge in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, which he had run with his fellow Ultimate Braai Master Season 3 partner Yusuf Sujee, and which competition the team had won. Chef Yusuf has remained behind at La Vierge. Coming from Cape Town, being away from home was not ideal, and hence the offer to work at Mondiall was a golden opportunity for Chef Stephen. He previously worked at the Cape Grace and De Grendel.
I noticed the new champagne riddling bracket on the wall in the section in which we sat, an unusual decor asset not seen in a restaurant previously. Waiter Mark impressed with a sweet touch as we were seated, offering me a dry cappuccino immediately, but I requested that he bring me one at the end of the meal. Patrick came to greet us, while Chef Stephen ran through the Winter Menu, given us suggestions of what to order. The more dishes he went through, the harder it was to choose what to order. Half of the Winter Menu is devoted to starters, salads, and sides, while the other half consists of main courses, desserts, and cheese dishes. The menu warns that all dishes contain fresh and seasonal produce. It informs that ‘all our poultry and meat are sourced from local free range farms, ensuring best quality produce from ethical and humane farming practices‘. Food allergies and special requirements will be accommodated as far as possible, it informs. ‘Flash or intrusive photography‘ is not allowed. Menu items are marked as containing dairy, nuts, and/or gluten, or being vegetarian.
Mark brought the bread plate, simply two slices of ciabatta with the distinctive butter with the Mondiall logo, served in a wooden bowl. It was the only criticism I have of our lunch, the bread not matching the rest of the lovely dishes which we were served, and the logo butter lying on its side in its placement.
As starters Jenny and I ordered the Baby Spinach Salad, with Parmesan, and a miso and yuzu dressing (R68); and Endive Salad with blue cheese, walnuts, apple, and a mustard dressing (R65). A Caesar Salad (R82) is also offered. Chef Stephen sent a surprise taster of his Roasted Cauliflower starter, with cauliflower cream, Parmesan, pesto, and tomato (R70).
One of my favorite dishes was the taster of the Shellfish Bisque (R95), which Chef Stephen also sent to the table, assuring me that it did not contain mussels, which I am allergic to. It was topped with fresh herbs and saffron aioli, and was accompanied with slices of crusty loaf. Other starter dishes are fresh oysters, at R24 each, R120 for six, and R240 for twelve. Mussels Mariniere costs R82, and Mondiall’s Signature Fish Tacos is available in two portion sizes of R80 and R160. Three oysters and a glass of Laborie Brut costs R120, and with a glass of Moët & Chandon costs R230.
Steak Tartare comes in two sizes: small costs R80, while the large portion which comes with hand-cut fries as well as a salad costs R160. Smoked goats cheese parcel is also available in two portion sizes, costing R70 and R140. Aubergine, leeks, mushrooms, baba ganoush, and vegetable jus costs R86. Sides cost between R25 – R35.
For her main course Jenny ordered Cape Malay Lamb Curry, accompanied by fragrant rice, pickled lemon, poppadom, and sambals (R168), and allowed me a taste of her dish, a perfectly (for me) mild curry. I chose to order another starter, being an interesting sounding Crispy Ham Hock (R75), which was pulled ham with a crispy crumb coating, served with a caramelised apple purée, celeriac remoulade, and pea shoots. Other main courses are Mauritian farmed sea bass (R220), seared Norwegian salmon (R210), and grilled prawns (R260), a dish which has been on the menu since Mondiall opened. A Seafood Plate costs R230. Risotto of the day costs R165, Chicken Ballantine R180, dry-aged grilled sirloin (R190), braised beef short rib (R170), and the Mondiall’s Famous 100% Wagyu Cheese Burger (R135). Meat is supplied by Salvin Hirschfield.
We managed to find a space for dessert, Jenny ordering roasted stone fruit with honey ice cream, pistachio, and an unusual basil addition (R60). I chose Affogato panna cotta, made with coffee and frangelico syrup (R55), not enjoying the panna cotta part but loving the large crispy perfectly-baked biscotti. We had considered a decadent sounding Roadhouse-style Banana Split, with a banana Tarte Tatin (R60), as well as a salted chocolate tart (R65), but they will have to wait for a next Mondiall visit! Mark brought a perfectly made Dry cappuccino with the desserts. A Chef’s Cheese of the Day (R120) is the chef’s cheese dessert choice, which was whipped blue cheese, with preserves, fruit bread, and figs yesterday. Baked Camembert for two is offered at R138.
In addition to the new Winter Menu, Mondiall is also offering a number of value-for-money Winter Specials: Monday Madness (any two starters, mains or desserts for the price of one, all day); Ladies Night (Thursdays, 50% off meals and R30 for all cocktails); Business Lunch (33% discount for 4 people or less; or 44% discount on tables of more than 4, with business cards to be handed over); Pre-/Post-Movie Special (order a meal and receive a complimentary pre-/post-movie drink on presentation of a movie ticket); Birthday Special (50% off your meal on your birthday, on presentation of ID). The Mondiall Burger Bar specials are Breakfast Burger R75, and Cowboy Dog R65.
Mondiall, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Tel (021) 418-3003. www. mondiall.co.za Twitter: @Mondiall_SA Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Monday – Sunday. Brunch Saturdays and Sundays.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter: @WhaleCottage Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein