Have you heard? It’s chocolate month at the Townhouse Hotel! For the entire month of July, Trees Restaurant at the Townhouse Hotel is offering a number of choco-licious treats, including a three course chocolate themed dinner, where each course is paired with a particular Waterford Estate wine. It’s this very offering that we were ecstatic to be invited to.
We arrived at Trees Restaurant at approximately 7:30pm on a Monday evening. It was cold outside, but the warm lighting, and parafin fireplace feature made for a cosy atmosphere. Being presented with a menu solely comprised of chocolate cocktails got me giddy with excitement. Ordering one prior to dinner was probably a mistake, but I have no regrets. It was delicious! And yes, more like a dessert than a light aperitif. It’s not easy to find a well made cocktail in Cape Town. Trees Restaurant does it right. Unfortunately they don’t offer cocktails on a regular basis.
Dinner kicked off with a duck ravioli served with various garnishes such as prawn popcorn, cauliflower puree, and of course a dark chocolate balsamic syrup. To be honest, the starter was a bit of a non-start for me. The ravioli seemed to be panfried, or possibly deep fried, making the pasta tough. It was a texture I wasn’t incredibly fond of. But the accompanying Waterford Riesling was my absolute favourite wine of the night.
Expectations weren’t high after the ravioli, but the main absolutely blew me away! The panfried kudu with butternut fondant, cranberries, pickled baby beetroot, mushrooms, and dark chocolate jus was the epitome of an African Christmas celebration. The gentle warmth of cinnamon dusted over the rare, tender venison was a surprising delight. Everything belonged on the plate, and every mouthful was an absolute pleasure. The chocolate jus wasn’t merely an addition for chocolate sake either. It was the perfect foil for running that gorgeous kudu through. Waterford’s Kevin Arnold Shiraz was the perfect spicy sipper to accompany a dish so packed with bold, but nuanced flavour.
I wasn’t convinced the main could be beaten. The dark chocolate fondant with rose geranium filling, raspberry jam, turkish delight, and vanilla ice cream is said to be a favourite amongst Townhouse Hotel diners. But I thought that was just something the hotel said to reel you in. Let me just tell you, this chocolate fondant is the stuff of chocolate lovers’ dreams! It gushed rose geranium chocolate truffle like a dam wall being broken. Heavenly. The fragrant essence of rose geranium and turkish delight make for a floral contrast to the chocolatey richness of the dish, while the sharp raspberry, and cooling ice cream are a welcome lift. The Waterford Heatherleigh dessert wine was a smooth and fragrant accompaniment that stood up to this sophisticated dessert, but in no way hindered it.
By the end of the meal, the mis-step of that ravioli had been completely forgotten. It’s been over a week since our visit to the Townhouse Hotel and I haven’t stopped thinking about that venison, or chocolate fondant. This is a dinner you definitely won’t forget. Call Trees Restaurant on 021-465 7050, or email email@example.com to make a reservation before the end of July!