Since its re-launch in December 2017, The Ritz Hotel has been the talk of the town – with curious visitors keen to see what a R120-million refurb actually looks like. Suffice to say, the hotel is back with a glitzy-and-glam bang, and no shortage of ways to indulge in the luxe life – be it for a day, a week, or even just a special-occasion dinner…
The hotel’s crowning glory is most certainly its revolving restaurant – Top of The Ritz – perched on the 23rd floor, ensuring the landmark’s pride of place on Sea Point’s burgeoning skyline. Inside, the restaurant’s plain black decor – most probably chosen to allow the spectacular views to shine – creates a refined atmosphere, while the tasty modern menu is elevated to new heights due to its heady setting – among the clouds, with panoramic views of some of the Mother City’s other dazzling stars.
A sparkling start
Your evening begins with a glass of Graham Beck bubbly and a delectable Knysna oyster canapé with strawberries (done four ways) in the moody Champagne Lounge on the 22nd floor.
Then, once done, take a flight of stairs to the top where the magic unfolds. Settle into one of the luxe black velvet chairs at your table decked with Philippe Starck lamps and top-notch silverware, as you gaze out at the sweeping views – only a touch away – and prepare for your seven-course journey.
The menu – entitled “A Journey of Flavours Through Cape Town” – is executive chef Adrian Cook and head chef Maveer Thulsie’s way of paying homage to the city’s local culinary traditions and flavours, and offers non-meat eaters a vegan or vegetarian variation. Each of the seven courses has its own unique theme, and features locally sourced ingredients and favoured farm produce to create a dining experience with a twist. “What’s so exciting about the menu is that we get to play with food that is familiar to many diners, but we are presenting it in a new and exciting manner,” says Adrian. “Our seven-course ‘Journey’ isn’t about smoke and mirrors,” he continues, “but authentic flavours presented in a refined manner.”
The appetizer – Sea Point Avocado Ritz – tips its head to the hotel’s location, while the bread course – homemade bread, butter, pâté and mousse – is a modern take on a classic South African street food, the Grand Parade Masala Steak Gatsby.
Next up is the starter – a beetroot-and-goat’s cheese “salad” dubbed The Gardens, whose dramatic presentation is trumped only by the delicious flavour combinations. A subtle and refreshing gooseberry sorbet with a dehydrated bird’s eye chilli makes a fitting palate cleanser, and sets the scene for Ocean View, the fish course, which is a celebration of the sea, and offers guests a fresh linefish fillet accompanied with salt and vinegar cigars, kelp crisps and homemade tartare.
Mains is a choice between Countryside, which pays homage to the city’s surrounding farmlands, featuring grilled beef sirloin and free-range quail egg as the stars of the show, and The Karoo, which celebrates the famed meat-producing region. Here, a perfectly prepared rack of lamb is served with sides of mint peas, spinach farce, truffled celeriac purée, and a fynbos croquette.
And finally, your trip around the Cape ends with the Mountain View dessert of smoked chocolate mousse, chocolate soil, pebbles, white “mushroom” and smoke, mimicking a misty evening walk in the mountains. As dramatic as the presentation was, the flavours were too smokey for my liking (but that didn’t stop us from inhaling it all).
Tea or Koffie is served with dainty petits fours (included in the price).
Above and beyond
In addition to a satisfying meal and the warm and wonderful service from our waitron Frank Shabalala, we got to experience the whole city without leaving our seats! That’s right, the restaurant revolves every 62 minutes, to capture magnificent views of the sunset-laced coastline and the majestic Lion’s Head and Signal Hill backdrop. Jaw-dropping stuff!
So… are you ready to take a trip to the top? Then, enter our competition, and stand a chance to win dinner for two, and a bottle of bubbly, valued at R2 000.