A novel restaurant opened in Cape Town 7 months ago, serving no starter and only one cut of steak as its main course. HQ in Heritage Square is no dining option for vegetarians, for restaurant patrons who like a choice of dishes or for those that like to choose when they wish to arrive at the restaurant!. Luckily the dessert and the wines are not prescribed, in that a choice is offered!
With a loft-like yet very simple decor, it has wooden tables covered with brown paper “tablecloths”, which state clearly that one can have anything to eat as long as it’s steak. It also serves as a data record, in that one is requested to add one’s name, e-mail address and cell number.
The waitress was efficient but did not connect with her customers. She explained that they only serve sirloin, and that it is “35-year matured”, getting her years and days confused. Asking about the origin of this unique restaurant concept, she explained that it is based on Cafe’ de Paris in Geneva, which has operated for 75 years offering only one dish: Entrecote Cafe’ de Paris. The famous entrecote is served with a sauce of which the recipe is a trade secret, but it is thought to be made from chicken livers, fresh thyme, cream, white Dijon mustard and butter, according to Wikipedia.
A green salad with parmesan shavings and pine nut kernels is served as a starter – tough if you do not eat salad, as few men are wont to do! One is told that the chef recommends the steak to be prepared medium rare, and this is marked as such on the “tablecloth”. The steak arrived absolutely rare, which is the trade mark of Cafe’ de Paris as well. On checking and receiving the feedback, the waitress took the plates back to the kitchen. They came back to the table completely overcooked. The steak is served with chips. The cost of the salad bowl, steak and chips is a pricy R 140. Desserts are more reasonably priced at about R 25 each.
The winelist is unpretentious and will not win an award. It lists the wines under “Red”, “White” etc, but does show the vintage of each of the wines. The most astronomically priced wine is a Schalk Burger, at R 1 400 a bottle or R 350 a glass!
One may not arrive after 19h30, we were told, yet many patrons were only seated at 20h00 or even later.
The entrance on Buitengracht Street is recommended, as parking is freely available there. Tables near the bar area are very draughty, as the door to Heritage Square is open. Request a table closer to Buitengracht Street.
Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com