Couldn’t all restaurants be like The Grand in Plettenberg Bay? I have stayed at The Grand since 2007, while we were renovating our former guest house in the town. Whilst the ownership changed from Gail Behr to Susie Main over this period, it felt as if I had stepped back into history when I arrived for dinner last night, everything looking the same in the restaurant, and Manager Sybil still working there after all these years. She welcomed me with a big hug!
It was a beautiful evening, with a welcome 24 C temperature, compared to the sizzling 30+ C temperatures we have experienced in Cape Town for the past two weeks. The Grand in Plett has a beautiful location, its deck facing the lagoon and the almost full moon passing ahead cast a magic spell. Rose bushes and other plants line the deck railing, and white-painted table tops are laid with glasses, a plate with a material napkin, and a set of knife, fork, and spoon. I missed the availability of a butter knife. Candelabras adorn bigger tables, and candles in wind lanterns shed light on smaller tables. The smaller tables have the distinctive pink woven cane chairs which typify The Grand restaurants. I sat at a shared large wooden-top table, with benches, made comfortable with big beige cushions with The Grand logo embroidered on them. There is a fireplace on the deck, and a couple moved closer to it when they felt chilly.
The menu is an A3 page, with the starters and main courses. Many dishes have stayed the same over the years, creating comfort and recognition. Prices have increased, naturally, but the calamari starter I ordered at R75 did not feel like good value. The bread roll, feeling and tasting a little like a vetkoek, but described as a ‘roll‘ by Chef Doreen Salman, was delicious, and served with good salty butter.
The calamari starter portion seemed lost on the plate, and had I not requested a portion of tartar sauce for the calamari it would have looked even more lost on the large plate that it was served on (R75). The tartar sauce was clearly home-made, with chunky ingredients.
I ordered the starter portion of hake fish cakes, and this came with the same tartar sauce, two fish cakes costing R 70, the value for money feeling somewhat better. Other starter options are Bouillabaisse (R83), and a slice of Caesar salad (R81).
Main course options are Sue Salmon Salad (R165), kingklip tagliatelle (R158), sugar salmon (R195), Fillet Béarnaise (R165), and Grand Seafood Pasta (R180). Other options include beer battered fish and chips (R120), curry with sambals and rice (R185), and pasta options. The dessert selection is displayed on a board inside the restaurant, so the waitress had to tell me what is offered. They sounded boring, and did not interest me: ice cream and chocolate sauce and chocolate brownies cost R35, while Bar One cheesecake and Carrot Cake cost R40.
The wine list does not specify the vintages of the wines offered. Two to four options are offered per cultivar. At least one wine per cultivar is offered by the bottle and per glass.
Grand Café and Rooms, 27 Main Street, Plettenberg Bay. Tel (044) 533-3301. www.grandafrica.com. Twitter: @GrandAfrica
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: click here