Saturday, March 21, 2009

La Colombe, Cape Town

Franck Dangereux, who put La Colombe on the local and international food map, moved on to found The Foodbarn, which he owns with a partner in Noordhoek. Luke Dale-Roberts has gradually turned the menu towards his own style, and I like it. The only quibble I ever had about Franck's food was too. much. sauce. There is a lot less sauce now, and a lot of beautiful microgreens.

My mom took Vince and me (yes, me, not I!) to La Colombe for lunch. It's a beautiful place. I had not been there for a year. We sat at the throne, an outdoor table with heavy, cushioned benches under a grape arbour (the vine is a little poorly at the moment, too much shade, I think). And we started as one does, there, with bubbly, and a Grey Goose martini for the Frenchie.

Below, Vincent the Diplomat. Scary.

A Washingtonian emailed me recently to ask whether she and her husband should eat here on a trip they are about to make to South Africa, I said yes. I hope they play with their garlic when it arrives: a roasted head, some salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar. This greets you before lunch proper.

Yum. Garlic mush.

For the longest time, La Colombe has been known in our family as the F.O.D. It's a long story.

La Colombe came ot be known in my family as the F%^*%$!ing Duck. Why? Because when we had lunch there once with my un-shy sister-in-law, Chrissie, two white ducks were, ah,..procreating...in the pool. She re-christened La Colombe. There are always white ducks, and they keep making more. But then the pool - a proper swimming-sized one - was filled in to make a bigger courtyard for tables, and a sedate pond replaced it. And the ducks left. For a while, at least. So then it was the F&^$#d Off Duck.

Below: I can't help it. There was foie gras on the menu, so I ordered it.

Above: I can't help it. There was foie gras on the menu, so I ordered it.

Vincent opted for the palate cleanser, which I think was red currant with a nip of something in it...but I forget. I prefer to order one for dessert, as my sweet tooth, such as it is, tends towards the sherbetty, fruity, alcoholic-y...

The main courses. This vegetable risotto was a stunner, visually: bright, fresh, clean colours. The pea foam was delicious but the rice itself slightly overcooked. The death of risotto. I found it slightly too sweet, too, in a tomato-vein, but Vince and my mom disagreed.

Surf 'n air? Quail and lobster...very well done, as in executed, not overcooked.

The moment the Frenchie was waiting for. White chocolate mousse time. White chocolate wrapped in a white chocolate shell: gag. Not for me. But it was gorgeous. The red raspberry jellies won me over.

One look at this cup and what do you know? Perfect espresso. That's all. That upon which no improvement can be made.

Oh...not over yet. Scrumptious cherries. Smooth and silky Turkish delight. Chocolate pistachio things. Groan.

Don't have anything planned after your lunch except a long nap. There are lots of trees and a perfectly rolled cricket pitch. Or you can book a room.

5 comments:

  1. Wow, your pictures are great, I'd almost forgotten all that. Man was it delicious... I would be happy to donate a picture of you and your mom at the table. :-)

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  2. mmmmm gourmande heaven on earth--beautiful setting and fantastic food! so you smash up the garlic and spread it on bread? i so agree about white chocolate..blecch, it shouldn't even be allowed to call itself chocolate (but it was pretty).

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  3. QC - yes, the garlic is cold by then, but roasted whole: squoosh each clove out of its shell, smash it up in the mortar with the other goodies, and spread. Easy to do at home, too.

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  4. The cocktails do look delicious.

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