Restaurant Review: GOLD Restaurant not so shiny for all tourist diners!



Last week I was invited by German visitors to join them for dinner, and of the three options I provided, they chose Gold Restaurant in Green Point. It was my first dinner at Gold since the restaurant had moved from Strand Street, its previous home. It was a noisy evening, a part I had forgotten about and not mentioned to the visitors by me, and the food offering as well as service made me reconsider whether I would recommend it to guests, having done so once before, with good feedback then.

The Bennett Street restaurant building is modern, made of glass and chrome, with clever gold touches in columns and lampshades. It is spread over various levels, in open space rooms, seating 550 persons. We checked in at the reception desk, two persons with lists looking for my name, as I had made the booking. Before one enters the building it is clear that it is a tourist attraction, with massive tour buses outside the door. My hosts had arrived earlier than I, and had been shown a table on a higher level floor, where the pre-dinner drumming (R99) takes place. They had fled the table, finding it far too loud, with about 100 diners drumming. We were seated on a lower level floor, which generally was quiet until the ‘entertainers’ came to our sections four times during our dinner. 

Our table was colourfully decorated with a table-cloth, and two colourful plates, with a napkin. Two menus for our table of three lay on the table. Our waitress Lanila answered our questions, mainly about the noise, and was diplomatic about my request for the entertainment to not be as loud as my hosts had experienced earlier on. She just smiled, knowing that this request could not be accepted. Her information was minimal, and from our questions we learnt that a number of entertainment activities would take place, She did ask for dietary requirements, so I told her mine about no garlic or onion. My hosts had no dietary requests.

i was requested to choose a wine, a white wine being the preference of my hosts, and so I chose a typical and popular South African cultivar Chenin Blanc, by DeMorgenzon, a DMZ 2019 vintage (R260). My hosts enjoyed it so much that we ordered a second bottle. The winelist was hard to read, the gold writing not very close, and a lot of wines crammed onto the list. However,  the prices seemed reasonable. Interesting is that the Platte star rating is shown on the wine list. 

The menu, described as a Cape Malay and African taste menu, was a massive sized one, detailing the main ingredients of each of the 15 courses, and my hosts were worried about managing to eat all of them. Despite enquiring whether they would all come individually, she said yes, when they were in fact served in groups. The menu showed the origin in Africa of each dish. Most dishes were to be shared by the table. 

The first dish was representative of South Africa, being a seared marinated ostrich fillet salad (more green leaves than ostrich, but I cannot eat ostrich so I just took some of the greenery, served on a decorative metal plate), accompanied by Mozambican spicy (the word was used by the waitress, neglecting to add the word ‘chili’, my pet hate) chicken wings (not too hot, so that I even enjoyed them), a lovely Egyptian (Ethiopian according to the menu) Iab yoghurt and cottage cheese (this ingredient is not listed on the menu) and herb dip, and a South African Xhosa pot bread, served in a small terracotta flower-pot. 

it was immediately clear that the portions were minute, and that eating 15 ‘courses’, more like items, would not be a problem for us. 

It was entertainment time, and a group of entertainers came with drums and sang, very loudly, and with screams at times, in an unknown language, none of it understandable to my hosts, or even to me. When I asked, we were told that it was a ‘Welcome ceremony’. The outfits of the entertainment staff were colourful, as were those of the waitresses, each wearing an orange T-shirt and a colourful long skirt. This was immediately followed by a visit to our table by a face painter, my hostess being the only one volunteering for this daisy decoration on the side of her face. 

Our second set of dishes consisted of three items: a minute samoosa of minced organic lamb and Springbok, mine being a pea and potato one); Tunisian prawn briquat (a parcel covered by a pastry shell, very bland in its taste); and Malawian sweet potato cakes (spicy with a burn, not very attractive in its presentation); with a South African chutney that did not look like one at all. A surprise to our table was that we were not offered clean crockery or cutlery, as we had chicken bones on our plate. We were told to put them into a container on our table and eat with the same utensils. I could see that my German hosts were not very happy with this. 

At this stage we had already been served more than half the menu items, and at this stage I was worried if my hosts would leave the restaurant  hungry. What was described as the main course was a weird collection of Ghanaian peanut chicken, Moroccan butterbean, olive, and tomato tagine, Ethiopian Pilau Rice, a Tanzanian fish curry, and a Tanzanian Kachumbali relish also containing chili.. At this stage the kitchen had prepared separate variations of these dishes without onion and garlic for me. The waitress had a hard time explaining our dishes to us, as the next entertainment segment hit our room, the drumming drowning out the soft-spoken waitress. Generously we were offered refills of any of the main course dishes, but we declined.

And then it was time for desserts: a shared dish of three tiny pumpkin fritters, a local speciality usually dipped in sugar, but there was a minimal sugar covering. The waitress described our individual portion of very tasty ice cream as vanilla from Zanzibar, but the menu called it Cardamon-infused ice cream! That was the sum total of the meal. 

A very bizarre appearance was made by a beautifully dressed lady entering our room, wearing a hat, speaking in French to a section of the room very close to us. She clutched a framed certificate from StreetSmart, and then passed the hat around to collect money from the French tables close to us. I had to ask what she had said, as she did not translate it into English, so that I could translate for my hosts. I explained StreetSmart to my hosts, and told them that R5 for our table should be added to our bill, going towards the upliftment of Street children.  My host was not very complimentary about the quality of French spoken by the lady, trying to converse with her in French, and she not being able to reply. 

As the French lady left the room, some other ladies entered, brushing each person on the head for an unexplained reason. 

Another odd thing that happened was that my host paid the tip to our waitress in cash, but we saw her give the money to another person, when she returned to our table, I asked her if she had to hand in her tip, and she said yes, but that she would get it the following day. It sounded as if this was a security measure, but she was not very clear in communicating this.

One last comment is that there was no sign of a manager or a Hostess to check on the satisfaction with our experience. There was no one to say goodbye to us at the door as we left the building, not feeling very South African in the end to this African eating and entertainment experience evening. 

Throughout the meal I had to ask the waitress to repeat the description of the dishes, she speaking too fast and too softly. If I could not understand her, my hosts did so even less. I found the 15-course menu description, whilst accurate, to be misleading as every dish was referred to as a course, when a number of dishes made up two starter courses, one main course, and one dessert. At R415 per person I’m not sure if tourists will find the experience to be value for money, especially as the entertainment was too loud, seen as a hindrance rather than an added extra. 


GOLD Restaurant, 15 Bennett Street, Green Point, Cape Town. Tel (021) 421-4653 Twitter: @GOLDRestaurant Instagram: @goldrestaurantcapetown 

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein



Please follow and like us:
Tweet 27k

WhaleTales Blog


We don’t spam!

Read our privacy policy for more info.