Thursday, July 8, 2010
Signal Restaurant, Cape Grace Hotel
In Cape Town, South Africa there lies a wonderful hotel, the Cape Grace. We were blessed enough to stay there on our trip and it was an exceptional experience. Wonderful service, luxurious rooms, great waterfront location.... and, be it by fate or coincidence or just pure luck, it turns out the hotel restaurant, Signal, has a fantastic vegan tasting menu (left). I did not know that when I booked our stay and it was easily one of the best meals we had on our entire trip. Vegans, if you ever find yourself in Cape Town, save up a few pennies ($73 a person with wine) and go there. You'll be very happy you did. Here's what was on the menu:
First came this amuse bouche of avocado salad on a potato crisp. Think of it as gourmet chips and guacamole. It was like that only fresher and more flavorful. A lovely start.
This beet carpaccio and arugula salad was up next. The tahini dressing was light and refreshing and, well, I love beets, so I was sold. The root veggie chips added some crunch and made this just a delight to eat.
Our 3rd course was a 'patjuk' soup. I had no idea what patjuk was before this, but it is a Korean red bean soup, much like a very rich, dark miso. Extreme umami going on here, especially with the mushrooms, but it all came together very nicely with the spring onion to balance it out.
Next up was actually a green apple sorbet to cleanse the palate, but I must have eaten it too fast because there's no picture of it. I do know that it was the prefect thing to eat in between the soup and the rich risotto you see above. This had such a cheesy flavor that I am still unsure how they achieved. I've actually written the restaurant to try to get the recipe, but haven't heard back. If I get it, I'll let you know the secret, but for now, I can just say that it was the highlight of meal. Supremely satisfying.
Our last course before dessert was this beautiful concoction of butternut squash and greens between amoretti wafers with a playful rosemary and agave vinaigrette. Just so tasty. I love the combination of orange and green (sweet potato and kale being a favorite) so this dish was right up my alley and I thought it was the perfect ending to the savory courses.
For dessert, this gorgeous plate was perfection. An unbelievably rich chocolate caramel tart, cranberry compote, and cranberry ginger sorbet inside a sugar globe! All the flavors were top notch and hit the palate in all the right places. In addition, the smooth, warm chocolate tart was complimented nicely by the crunch of the sugar globe and the cold, bright, sorbet hidden within. We both could have eaten another one of these desserts easily. So good.
Each course also came with a South African wine pairing, all of which impressed us and made us wish we had factored in enough time for a trip to wine country. Next time! And if there is a next time, we'll definitely be back to Signal as well. Such an unexpected treat on our African adventure.
Up next, eating vegan in the bush or "Just because the guy next to you is eating impala doesn't mean you're screwed". Stay tuned!