Cape Town has many exclusive, fine dining destinations to offer its tourists and locals – awards list staple The Test Kitchen springs to mind. So what sets Aubergine apart? Firstly, it is one of the older and more established fine dining restaurants still operating in the city, having first opened its doors in 1996, and winning awards long before Luke Dale-Roberts had turned his mind to his own restaurants. Secondly, it is tucked away in a historic 19th Century building in town, unlike its more suburban kin.
This formerly residential setting is simultaneously quaint and memorable, with a courtyard area for summer months and fireplaces for winter. Finally, the ever-changing and evolving seasonal menu designed by German chef Harald Bresselschmidt, which melds classic European cuisine with Asian influences, is sure to delight the palate.
The current winter menu features hearty fare like braised beef brisket, spiced lentil dhal and a range of wintry soups. These dishes are made with seasonal, local ingredients and will rotate out after the winter season. The a la carte menu is more stable – though there is still a heavy emphasis on sourcing sustainable, local produce – and features mains like aubergine tortellini, ostrich eye fillet and rabbit loin, liver and belly confit. There are always vegetarian starters and mains available on the menu, with additional specials on request. In short, the menu offers something for every possible type of foodie.
For those who prefer curated dining, there are three, four and five-course degustation menus with optional wine pairings per dish (although the degustation menu has an emphasis on seafood and meat, a vegetarian option is available on request at a discounted price). The wines served are carefully selected to match the flavours of each particular dish and tend to be vintage, with a range of varietals presented. Those with ‘firm favourite’ wines would do well to skip this option, as some of the wines – such as the 2013 natural sweet which comes with one of the desserts – cater to a particular palate.
Considering the quality of the food and the impeccable service, the prices are far from outlandish. A three-course menu without wine will cost you R580pp, with prices working up to the five-course menu with wines, which will set you back R1200pp.
Aubergine also regularly runs once-off events, with particular menus. Coming up this week (6 Jul 2017) is the SA Black Truffle Experience, which promises to teach patrons about this rare fungi while presenting a four-course ‘truffle-accented’ menu with wine pairings. The event will cost R1200pp. Later in the month, guests can attend an exclusive wine pairing (featuring ‘legendary’ 2001 vintages) with a seasonal dinner. Contact the restaurant for more information on this and other upcoming events.
Right now, and in winters more generally, Aubergine is only open for a dinner service, which begins at 18:00. However, if you’d rather hold out until spring, you will be able to sample the restaurant’s more affordable lunch menu out on the terrace.
Be aware that parking in the area is likely to be an issue, so guests are encouraged to Uber.
Contact 021 465 0000 for bookings or inquiries or Book via their Website https://aubergine.co.za
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