Jamie Who is a blog about everything. Except current affairs. And politics. Also science, sport, religion, celebrities, movies, media and marketing, technology, business and design. So...basically Jamie Who is a blog about food. All things food.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The River Cafe - Somebody got a facelift

Complacent. That's how I would describe the attitude of the Constantia Uitsig River Cafe. Until recently that is. You see, in the past there were always three types of people who flocked to The River Cafe: 
  1. Tourists
  2. Old people
  3. Soccer moms looking for a few glasses of vino in between errands
So the restaurant seemed happy serving average food that was overpriced. Why not? People kept coming. That has changed radically now though, with the introduction of Luke Dale-Roberts. Look, when you've won Chef of The Year and your restaurant has won Restaurant of The Year for two years in a row you are pretty hot shit and his impact at The River Cafe is plain to see. The atmosphere is relaxed and less stuffy and the food reflects this. 

I stopped in for a lunch with The Big Dog, Pafoof, Monkey Whisperer and Thirsty and was stoked to see the bistro-styled food. As a table we ordered quite a wide range of things and all of them were brilliant. A tempura-prawn salad came with wonderfully crispy batter and was laced with avocado and tomatoes. My yellowtail came perfectly cooked and was served on fresh, seasonal vegetables with a sauce that seemed to be a variation on the classic Bechamel. The slow-cooked lamb shoulder was packed with garlic and rosemary and fell off the bone - you could've eaten it with a plastic spoon that you get on SAA Economy. But it was The Monkey Whisperer who stole the show with his ribeye burger. Oh. My. Word. I can still smell it. It was delivered on a wooden paddle with chunky, crisp fries and I challenge anyone to find a better version in the country. I know "where can you get the best burger?" is a popular question but you won't be hearing it from me. Because I already know. The answer is The River Cafe. 

The food was decently priced and the service was some of the best I've had anywhere. Friendly, efficient and knowledgeable, even when I asked the waitress if the fish was on the green or orange list. (I knew that already by the way but I just wanted to test her...yeah yeah, I'm a dick. Whatever.) 

I got a really good vibe at The River Cafe. You can see and taste how fresh the produce is. The portions are generous, the mood is laid-back and the setting is stunning. They are open 7 days a week, which in itself is amazing. There was even a wine special on when we were there so we tucked into a few bottles of the estate's Sauvignon Blanc for R50 a bottle. Not bad at all. In fact, if I didn't have a job I would probably still be there. 

Give them a call on (021) 794-3010

Jamie Who

P.S I took a beautiful photo of my fish but it has somehow been deleted by evil Nikon gremlins. So...you'll just have to take my word. Or go there yourself. 

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