Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A return visit to the Clico Boutique Hotel restaurant, Rosebank,

A cold winter evening in Johannesburg,
but that was about to change as we drove into
the parking lot at the Clico Boutique Hotel in Rosebank.
Situated on the periphery of this bustling suburb,
the restaurant offers a haven of peace and tranquillity.
Even the music that is played in the dining area
is subtle and not intrusive.

This awaits guests...
There is nothing like a "real" fire
to warm the cold extremities of the diners.

Fresh flowers make guests feel welcome.

Part of the main dining area.
There is a section that can be closed off for private functions.

Power outage?
What power outage...
The hotel does have a generator,
however, dinner by candle light is romantic
(As an aside, there was electricity when we were there)

The table decoration is simple.
The cutlery and crockery are utilitarian,
but do guests require any more than that?

Fresh Norwegian salmon with Wasabi and home made mayonnaise
to begin our wonderful dining experience.

My starter...
Roast tomato soup with basil mozzarella tortellini, 
aged balsamic and olive oil foam.
In a word...delicious.
There was an atheistic aspect to the foam,
but, that being said, it did add another flavour layer to the dish.
The tortellini was perfectly prepared and an unexpected addition.

My wife's starter...
Root vegetable Gnocchi, beetroot & butternut,root chips,parmesan,
oyster mushrooms mushroom truffle custard and assorted seeds.
Her verdict...beautiful.
At first she thought that there might be too many elements on the plate.
However the balance of flavours was such that it was not the case.

My wife's main course.
Sea Bass with leeks, celeriac and lemon-grass puree,
pac choy, braised fennel, verjuice gel,ash
aubergine puree, baby aubergines and a red wine fish sauce.
Again, many elements that made up this dish,
but all well balanced.
So much so that my wife almost licked the plate clean.
Not a morsel left!

My mains...
Lamb shoulder, slow braised rolled, parmesan shortbread,
confit tomato , olives, artichoke, green bean puree and yoghurt panna cota
This is a cut of meat that I have not had before.
At around 180gms, it was the perfect portion size.
The rest of the dish added to my enjoyment of the hero element.
I even tried some of the artichoke...not something I usually do.
The parmesan shortbread was a "surprise" element.

At first I thought we were being offered
a dish of meringue.
It turned out to be paper serviettes.
They looked so beautiful
that I did not want to destroy the presentation by taking one.

This looks like an ice sculpture.
In fact it is one of the water features outside the entrance.
Yes, I braved the cold to take the image.

My dessert...
Pina Colada with caramelized pineapple,slow baked meringue, roast lime puree
honey custard,salted coconut jellies,butterscotch & buttermilk ice cream.
I was not going to have a dessert,
however, for "research" purposes, I decided that I must.
And I am truly glad that I did.
The dish was not too sweet and the ice cream was delicious.
That is not to say that the other elements were not,
merely that the ice cream, for me, was the hero.

This is what my wife had waited patiently for.
Chefs Bleeding Heart,
Chocolate fondant, strawberry centre, champagne jellies
and sugar work.
When the dish arrived, the heart was whole
and it looked like a chocolate brownie...
not something to get too excited about.
But when it was opened, the magic happened
and my wife's eyes LIT up.
A dish that would have made the Masterchef Australia judges proud.

Executive chef Peter Van Schaik...
He has every reason to look pleased.
His menu and the service that the staff offer are superb.
His "theme", if it can be called that seems to be
adding multiple elements on a plate.
Which, when you read the menu might seem like overkill.
However, when the plate arrives at your table,
your senses are enthralled by what you are about to eat.
Peter is a great addition to this establishment.
Well done to all concerned.
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