I admire Paul Kovensky and his Kove Collection, for his energy in continuously opening new restaurants, his Lily’s in Mouille Point being the newest to open, a mere ten days ago. I have heard about a new one he is working on in the V&A Waterfront, where the Classic Car Bar pop-up restaurant is currently. 

Manager Ziona told us that Lily is the name of Paul’s very young daughter. He must be a proud dad to have named the restaurant after her. His son does not have that honor yet. Lily’s serves lunch and dinner, according to its menu outer cover.  

Lily’s has opened in a brand new apartment building, and is located where the Newport Deli once operated on Beach Road, directly opposite Kovensky’s Pepenero, and diagonally opposite his La Belle. It is a spacious space, with a massive counter for the bar section, coffee section, and the kitchen. It has beautiful bronze top tables, with unique cream leather comfortable chairs. The tables have a small vase of fresh flowers (snap dragons) and K (for Kove Collection) branded salt and black pepper grinders. Side plates are classic white and cutlery is by Brasserie. White napkins are rolled and placed on the side plates. Walls have panels of big flowered wallpaper against a black backdrop, offset with white wood paneling. A massive white unit contains a mirror, and its shelves hold books, a statue, buck horns, speakers, a vase of flowers, and more. 

The restaurant is not yet licensed, so my son was shown the Pepenero wine list, and the glass of Warwick First Lady Cabernet Sauvignon was brought from across the road. It was charged at R60. We were not told by waitress Jane that it would be charged separately, and that she would ultimately arrive with two credit card machines, one for the food, and the other for the wine.

The staff look smart in white shirts and black ties, with a black Lily’s branded apron, with the Glen Carlou sponsor name right at the bottom of the apron, barely visible. Our waitress Jane annoyed me more and more, and came with attitude, telling me when I asked that she had worked at the Kove Collection for five years. She was rough in her interaction, almost angry, in her removal of plates, cutlery, glassware, and not making a connection with us at all. She was not knowledgeable about the menu items I asked questions about, or about the name of the chefs. Manager Ziona was continuoysly smiling, and enquired about our satisfaction after every course was served, but seemed to have no control over her staff. When I ordered the dry cappuccino, it was served as a flat white. When I went to the barista to explain how it should be made, after having explained it to Jane, he gave me lip as well, insisting that it was made correctly. But the second cup that arrived was perfectly made. The Head Chef Jenny McKay is shy and sweet, but was packaged by her colleagues as tough, I not being allowed to exchange potato purée for a healthier non-carbohydrate. She told me that she has been working for the Kove Collection for seven years, last at Umi in Camps Bay. 

The menu is a well presented neat document, reminding me a little of the one at The Granary Café at The Silo Hotel, but of a far better quality. It has a hard board outer cover, and the pages are printed on gloss. Its introduction is confusing, as it welcomes one to ‘our family-friendly eatery’ (already a negative) and brags that ‘with the ocean on our doorstep, there isn’t a better spot to have breakfast, lunch or dinner‘. However, the menu cover says ‘Lily’s Lunch & Dinner’. The introduction ends with:‘our family business has crafted this homely, casual spot just for you. Come, relax, chill, eat & enjoy‘. It is a shame that the Lily’s staff are not as friendly and welcoming as the menu describes the restaurant! 

I am trying to eat more healthily, and found it difficult to find a dish that did not have potato purée or bread in it. The problems started when I requested a replacement for the potato purée in the starter grilled calamari dish (R85). It was served with a feta and tomato concassse, described by the manager as a cold mix but clearly fried. It contained six calamari pieces, and some crispy chopped tentacles. It was a disappointment even just from its presentation. My son’s Beef Carpaccio was described as biltong on the menu but clearly wasn’t, and was served with avocado, Parmesan, olive oil, and balsamic (R80). It was attractively plated. I selected a second starter for lack of being able to find a main course that I liked the look of. A starter called ‘Beets‘ consisted of open beetroot parcels, with pickled beetroot, goat’s cheese, pine nuts, and a balsamic reduction (which had been removed for me), costing R65. Other starters offered are a medley of broccoli (R85), Lily’s salmon fish cakes (R95), Caesar salad croquettes (R90), Quack eggs (shredded duck with soft boiled egg) at R110, Mussels (R75), and tofu in phyllo pastry (R65).

My son ordered a sirloin steak, with Café de Paris butter, and fries (R140). I tried a small piece of it, and it was grilled medium rare perfectly. Other main course options are fish (hake) and chips (R120), a slimming grilled hake with cauliflower couscous (R120), sesame tuna (R165), fillet of trout with couscous (R145), Lily’s Fried Chicken (R115), Chicken Supreme with cauliflower mash (R125), crispy confit duck leg (R155), and beef fillet with button mushrooms (R200). Lamb popsicles with baby potatoes cost R220. 

Non-meat dishes include Macaroni & Cheese (R95); a Buddha Bowl mix of quinoa, kale, halloumi, avocado, boiled egg and almonds (R150); and a coconut curry made with fried tofu (R95). The two pages of sandwiches, salads, and Burgers weren’t a consideration for me, and the sandwiches are only available between midday and 17h00. Salads cost between R70 and R95, but if quinoa, couscous, and chickpeas are added they cost R20 extra. Burgers cost between R100 and R120. Sides cost R20 – R35 extra. 

Six dessert options are offered, and my son and I shared the Please Sir can I have S’mores, disappointing in its chocolate Pot de crème and peanut butter cookie crumble, but served with a super delicious roast marshmallow ice cream (R75). Other options are Death by chocolate (including caramel popcorn, vanilla pod ice cream, chocolate tart, white chocolate mousse, and salted caramel (R85); a berry ripple cheesecake ice cream and vanilla cookies (R55); Skillet Apple Crisp, including cranberries, vanilla pod ice cream, and Granny Smith apple (R75); Espresso Your Self is a molten lava cake, with salted caramel, and caffeine fix ice cream ((R85); and coconut panna cotta, mango coulis, and fruit salsa (R65). 

As described above, the ATTITUDE of the Lily’s staff will be its downfall. There are many Service issues, the waiters not being knowledgeable about the menu and the restaurant in general. Plating can be improved, and the liquor license may be breached by having wines brought across from Pepenero. Our first visit was a definite disappointment. 

Lily’s, Shop 1, East-West Building, corner Beach Road and Surrey Place, Mouille Point, Cape Town. Tel (021) 204-8545. www.lilyrestaurant.co.za Twitter:@LilysCapeTown Instagram: @lilysrestaurant

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter: @Ulmenstein Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein