Custom Cuisine - January
By Brett Nussey
Diane and Christoph Heierli (F&H)
Fork…The name immediately conjures
up images of the kitchen, simple eating and meeting good friends.
This is exactly what the restaurant owner, Ed Saunders, thought
of when he launched his brainchild last week in the city centre
with his partner, JD. “We wanted to start something
different and realised that there is no ‘tapas’ venue
in Cape Town, so we created a restaurant with a flavour of
Italian cuisine in the Spanish tapas culture, although the
food is not strictly tapas.” The concept is
well-suited to today’s style of casual eating, where
café society is appeased by the myriad of choices available
at any particular establishment. Fork achieves this
in the variety of dishes and combinations of new tastes created
by their imported Italian chef, Christiane Testai.
As I walked into the restaurant, I was met by
a waitress who offered the option of smoking (downstairs) or
non-smoking (upstairs). I chose the latter and opted to sit on
one of two large leather sofas on the balcony, with a view of
the cityscape surrounding the restaurant.
I heard about Fork via a friend of mine
in the restaurant industry, who termed it a tapas restaurant.
be fooled - it isn’t strictly a ‘tapas’ venue.
Originally, and still in some bars today, tapas were simply a
few olives or almonds, and perhaps a selection of cheeses, sausages
and Serrano ham served, often free, to accompany a glass of fino
sherry. Tapas have now come to encompass more or less
any hot or cold dish that can be served in small portions, and
in some cases, they may be quite substantial. The portions at
fork seem to be in-between, as reflected in the pricing of the
dishes. Pricing of all the dishes ranges between R35 and R50
with the expensive items being Kudu mini fillets with
orange potato puree an chilli spinach and a citrus dressing and
Ostrich fillet rolls stuffed with emmenthal, asparagus, red sweet
chilli and mustard, both price at R50 each.
From the fish menu, the Grilled tiger prawns wrapped
with pancetta are also priced at R50 or Lemon
grass sosatie of monkfish with confit tomato, fried aubergine,
and white vermouth sauce at R35.
Other dishes that caught my interest
were the Almond-crusted Norwegian smoked salmon at R45 and
chicory leaves filled with baby cos lettuce, black olives,
walnuts and gorgonzola dressing at R30. I chose a Raclette
fondue served with crostini and Chorizo (R35) from
the ‘While you’re thinking’ section, which
I found to be rather rich and filling enough for a small appetite.
The raclette cheese as served in a pan and did tend to solidify
a little as it got cold, but tasted great with the Chorizo.
Another option was the Vitello tonnato (R35),
recommended by the waiter, which I didn’t try. Feeling
still a little hungry (and wanting to try as much as possible)
I decided to try the Pasta roll with emmentaler, aubergine,
mushrooms, rocket and béchamel sauce (R40),
which I was told was made from the best and freshest pasta
in town. This was not a lie. The pasta tasted light and fresh,
with no heavy feeling afterward, although the dish was equivalent
to any pasta ‘main’ served in any pasta restaurant.
If you’re feeling really hungry, you could always opt
for the side orders (zucchini, French fries or mixed baby leaf
salad, all at R15).
I had the choice of three white wines
by the glass, and I chose a glass of Saglia Sauvignon blanc
R100/25, which had a classic grassy nose and pleasant, light
tartness to it, ideal for sundowners and snack food. Red wine
options included De Meye Shiraz @ R84/21 and Organic
Bon Cap Pinotage @ R 104/26. Other notable wines were Oak
Valley Sauvignon Blanc @ R94 and Diemersfontein
Pinotage @ R102 Most expensive wine was Glen
Carlou Syrah @ R230.
NOTES: All in all,
a good experience. However, the restaurant has not
been ‘discovered’ yet and there was no real pressure
on the chef to deliver at capacity. I therefore cannot comment
on the speed of delivery and quality under pressure. Ideally,
I don’t consider it fair to review a restaurant so soon
after opening, but I was pleasantly surprised at the
level of organisation. I hope that the patrons
to the restaurant will continue to be met and chatted to by
the owners and that the waiters remain as friendly and courteous
as they are at present, but one can only hope. Try
the restaurant for yourself and be the first to discover a
new style of eating. I would like to hear your opinion and
feedback. I’ll be back again in the next few weeks to
see if my hopes have been realised.
Seating Inside - 65
Seating Outside - 10
Service - 8/10