Dash Restaurant and Bar at the Queen Victoria Hotel, at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town has a new chef and exciting new menu.
Chef Ashraf Arendse now takes the helm. Trained at Franschhoek’s George Jardine and formerly from Kloof Street House, Salt, Ginger and Bungalow, Chef Arendese brings his unique influences to the new menu – which perfectly marries French indulgence with local ingredients and traditional SA flavours.
The menu is split into a la carte section and a nine-course tasting menu, the tasting menu basically allows you to sample all of the menu but in smaller portions. The décor of the restaurant –which is lux and classic and accented by local art all adds to the romantic uniqueness, a perfect place to impress a date.
We were lucky enough to be treated to a version of the nine-course tasting menu, sampling six courses as chosen by Chef Arendse, plus a bread course each. More than enough if my bursting belly towards the end of the meal was anything to go by.
The first course we were presented with, we were told, is one of the chef’s specialities and personal favourites. I would have to agree. The lightly-battered and fried salt and pepper squid was beautifully complemented by a fragrant Cape Malay curry sauce and pickled cucumber. My favourite dish of the night.
Blackened tuna with a tom yum consommé
The second course the blackened tuna with a tom yum consommé, heirloom tomatoes and foraged local succulents was exciting and unique and packed a solid umami flavour punch.
Next, the crispier-than-crisp pork belly with carrot puree, crispy kale and pickle were served; an incredibly moreish bite.
For the main course, we were presented with the vegetarian risotto of pea, asparagus and chilli butter, the hint of chilli an absolute highlight. As well as the smoked beef with chimichurri and crispy onion rings.
This arrived under a glass dome – which, once lifted, revealed the dish in a puff of smoke. Rich and indulgent, this course was a little too heavy for me at this stage of the meal. But I’m sure if three starters plus bread has not been consumed before it would have been perfect.
Creamy, crunchy contrasts
For dessert, Chef Arendse selected the chocolate soufflé and panna cotta for us to sample. The soufflé was rich and oozy yet balanced by a fresh citrus ice-cream. However, the yoghurt panna cotta with passionfruit puree won the dessert round in my opinion.
Perfectly creamy and wobbly, it was elevated by toasted almonds and popping candy – a wonderful contrast of creamy and crunchy.
All in all a perfect date night dinner option.
Chef Ashraf Arendse has also partnered with Chef Chris Erasmus of Foliage Restaurant for a series of monthly chef’s table events using ingredients foraged in and around the Western Cape’s natural landscape.
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