The pan-Asian menu includes a range of dishes from China, Mongolia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Japan. This makes the mixed Asian platter (for two) a good starter if you'd like to sample a wide range of tastes. After chicken and beef satay, fried calamari, spring rolls, chicken in seaweed, and prawn toast, I was excited to try more!
The menu has a number of options for main meals, including seafood, poultry, beef, lamb, and vegetarian. Alas, it doesn't indicate what dishes are from which country (unlike the online version, which does). But, thanks to the help of the Eat Out magazine, I'd already decided what I wanted: the Imperial Duck (stir-fried with Chinese mushrooms, cashew nuts, and lychee). This, much like the Mongolian lamb that my friend had, was absolutely delicious and perfectly portioned to hit the spot.
Part of the why Chef Pon's has become such a popular spot over the last decade (and is one of Eat Out magazine's best Asian restaurants in Cape Town) must be due to the great value. While the online prices are a little out of date, the cost for the starter platter, two main meals, a bottle of wine, and two fortune cookies ("your ability to juggle many things will take you far in life"), was around R400.
Of course, with such great value, the place can get quite busy. We arrived at 7pm and enjoyed really quick service because we were the only people there. About 45 minutes later, our waiter was handling three other tables and had to be assisted by other staff members every now and then.
Although we were in an out in 90 minutes, it's a good idea to come early if you're in a rush (or just order takeaways to enjoy at home). Then again, with food this good, it's probably a good idea to take your time!
Chef Pon's Asian Kitchen is located at the corner of Mill Street and St Quintons Road in Gardens (next to the Southern Sun Garden Court and diagonally opposite the 24-hour Engen/Woolworths that all the clubbers go to on the way home). Call +27 (0)21 465 5846 or go to www.chefpons.co.za.