Set on a private quay, overlooking the impressive yacht basin and the magnificent mountains beyond, Cape Grace’s Signal Restaurant is a charming location for a hearty breakfast, special brunch, light lunch or date-night dinner.
When the hotel opened its doors in 1996, it quickly became known for its sumptuous and welcoming atmosphere, and 25 years on, not much has changed. Warm, wood-panelled interiors and opulent crystal chandeliers exude a regal air, with attentive staff ensuring a relaxed, family-friendly ambience.
We visited for dinner on a balmy Friday evening and arrived just as the sun was about to set, its glorious golden light filtering through the floor to ceiling glass doors. The deft barman helped ease us into the weekend with a refreshing gin and grapefruit tonic, with a twist of orange – the perfect antidote to a busy week.
While we sipped our cocktails, a British couple was enjoying a sommelier-led wine-tasting, a bridal party passed through in dress-up attire, guests strolled in from the pool, and a few smartly dressed couples arrived for dinner.
Local meets global
Settling down at our dinner table, our attentive waiter made sure we weren’t left wanting for anything. We took our time to pick a wine from the extensive list, finally settling on the Thelema Merlot 2016, which arrived promptly, along with a freshly baked bread selection.
The Signal dinner menu pays homage to the rich variety of cuisines and cultures in the Cape, made using ingredients responsibly and sustainably grown and sourced. For starters, I had the minted tomato and beetroot salad with goat’s cheese mousse, grapefruit and strawberry sorbet. For a beet lover like me, it hit all the right spots. My partner chose the confit pork belly with apple, mango, coconut and sesame seeds – a delightful dichotomy of crispy and smooth, sweet and savoury, plus it looked almost too beautiful to eat. Almost.
The main course offers two options: Mains or Plain and Simple. The latter includes confit chicken; grilled ostrich fillet; seared salmon; roasted rib-eye on the bone; and grilled beef fillet – classic well-prepared dishes, and infused with a flavourful European twist.
Each comes with your choice of side: from potato fries to truffled creamed potato; cauliflower bechamel to sweet potato puree; and green steamed vegetables to seasonal salad.
The Mains offering is broader and includes a vegan porcini risotto with roasted beetroot, pickled mushrooms and miso cream, and a variety of fish dishes (sustainably sourced fish with charcoal parpadelle, mussels, charred corn, peas and parsley; and shellfish risotto with grilled prawns, mussels and crispy oysters).
Though utterly tempting, we were in the mood for meat. My grilled duck breast with cauliflower, caramelised onion purée, roasted hazelnuts and plum jus was juicy, rich (but not overwhelmingly so) and perfectly tender. And my partner’s slow-cooked lamb shoulder, with crispy croquette, grilled cutlet, potato pave and braised tomato jus was equally satisfying (although he wouldn’t let me sample it for myself).
We eyed the dessert and cheese menu (Whipped vanilla panna cotta with elderflower strawberries, meringue and strawberry MCC sorbet!), but felt we’d had more than our fill, so when our waiter brought the friandise with our coffees, we were more than happy to sample the bite-size nougat and macarons.
If you’re in the mood for a new date-night treat, might we suggest Signal Restaurant at Cape Grace?
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