Nguni restaurant Plettenberg Bay has been one of our favorites, and appears to be popular amongst locals too, being full on Friday ten days ago. It felt like coming home, but its dishes seem to have become far more spicy, and the restaurant seems to have become the most expensive in the town.
It was wonderful to see waiter Robert again, who has worked at Nguni for the past eight years. We first met him when he worked at The Grand the year prior. Sparkling hostess was bubbly Irish manager Emma, who made time to chat to all her guests, and walked the floor over the course of the evening.
What had changed was the addition of cow wire art (linking to the restaurant name) in the restaurant, on the wall, and on top of the fireplace. A very small cow on my table was for sale at R300,
the price feeling to be excessive. I did not recall the overturned milking bucket lampshades over one of the bigger tables, and it was a clever decor touch. Odd was an ostrich leather menu cover, given the theme of the restaurant.
I recalled tablecloths and napkins in the past, but these have both gone, replaced with paper placemats and gauze serviettes. The table has a StreetSmart holder, to announce that R5 will be added to the bill. Oryx black pepper and desert salt grinders are on each table too. Robert brought a terra cotta flower pot with baked bread in it, as well as butter.
I chose Gazpacho as a starter, made with tomato, pepper, and cucumber, which was very refreshing, but had a spicy aftertaste, which could have been chili (R48). Other starters offered are salt and pepper squid (R68), tuna carpaccio (R72), Bushveld mezze platter (R78), Bobotie samoosas (R52), roasted butternut and goat’s cheese salad (R79), baby spinach and biltong salad (R72), garden salad (R60), and Caprese salad (R68).
I could not believe how many patrons streamed into the restaurant, every five minutes another table-full arrived, until the restaurant and the outside tables were full.
As a main course I chose kingklip, the linefish of the day, which was served with an odd ‘exotic tomato, roasted lime, pomegranate (none visible) and mint salad‘ (R140). The ‘salad‘ had a very strong after-bite, and once again I blamed an unannounced chili for it, although the chef denied it via the waiter. I removed all the mint leaves from the dish, and had to order a side dish of Basmati rice (R22) to downplay the strong taste of the salad, completely overpowering the beautiful kingklip. A fish knife was missing for the dish.
Other main course choices are steak (R185 for 200g fillet, R180 for 300g ribeye), ostrich fillet (R160), springbok loin (R215), seared tuna steak (R178), soy and honey salmon (R225), grilled prawns (SQ), Cape seafood soup (R155), and tomato tarte tatin (R96).
The wine list does not specify vintages, and contains a mix of Plettenberg Bay and wines from other Winelands regions. Only four white (Jordan Chameleon, Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc, Anthonij Rupert Sauvignon Blanc, and Leopard’s Leap Chardonnay), and three red wines (Jordan Chameleon Red and Rosé, and Babel Red Blend) are offered by the glass.
Despite the spicy starter and main course, I enjoyed being back at Nguni again, and was impressed with the very fast service in serving the two courses, despite the busy restaurant, it being almost too fast!
Nguni, 6 Crescent Street, Plettenberg Bay. Tel (044) 533-6710. www.nguni-restaurant.co.za
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: click here