When the Insiders were invited to a special tasting dinner to sample Reuben’s brand-new menu, we were excited, but also slightly tentative (at the thought that old favourites, such as the chilli squid, would not make an appearance). The trepidation was short-lived the minute we clapped eyes on his bold new dishes.
Local flavours with international flair
As always, the stars of Reuben’s menus are local flavours and ingredients, but this time more than ever, there’s an undeniable cosmopolitan flair in all his dishes – perhaps the result of his recent fact-finding and tasting trip to the States, where he got his fill of inspiration and ideas.
Striking the right balance
Reuben’s knack for creating refined, world-class dishes that still remain satisfying and unpretentious is what sets him apart. The lamb bobotie samoosas with coriander curd and carrot royale, for example, are wonderfully crisp and comforting. The octopus carpaccio (pictured above) is a sight to behold! It looks like a piece of Venetian-glass jewellery.
Less is more
On the topic of plating, it feels as if Reuben and his team have taken presentation to the next level. In line with international trends, the dishes appear simpler, allowing the ingredients to shine.
Echoing the simpler presentation, Reuben has also pared down his menu. “Where it was quite big before, I’ve reduced it and really pushed the focus to amazing seasonal ingredients. We’ve refined things a lot and there’s more seafood too,” he explains.
The less-is-more dictum also applies to sourcing produce. His “tread lightly” approach means that diners can expect low-carbon offerings, such as salmon trout from the Franschhoek Valley, A-grade beef from nearby farms, and seafood and shellfish specials depending on daily catches.
Another highlight of the Reuben’s One&Only experience is the 5 000-strong cellar, curated by master sommelier Luvo Ntezo, who is passionate about connecting with maverick cellar masters and discovering hidden-gem wineries. What that means for diners is that we get to dip into the rare varietals he uncovers.
Cherry on top
And as we’d hoped, the dessert course was a fitting denouement to a superb meal. Options include Granny Smith Tarte Tatin, with vanilla panna cotta, apple sorbet, salted caramel and hazelnut sponge; Cape Malay Koeksister, with spiced caramel schemer, toasted coconut and lime ice cream, cinnamon crumble and semi-preserved pineapple; and ice cream or sorbet. I went for two scoops of choc mint ice cream, which was pale, cool and silky smooth and had chunks of real chocolate in it. It was arranged on a bed of chocolate space dust, so each mouthful snap, crackled and popped. Such fun!
Pssst! We’re giving away dinner for four at this illustrious restaurant. Enter our competition.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 6.30pm – 10pm
Contact 021 431 4511, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Reuben’s at One&Only Cape Town, Dock Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Image: Seth Shezi