The Dining Room Experience

The Dining Room is a pop up restaurant running in conjunction with The Union Bar. You can read my post on the bar here. A 6 course menu creation by Vicky Crease priced reasonably at R350pp and an extra R250 pp for wine pairing is on offer at The Dining Room.

I am not sure about you guys but I for one hate phoning people to make reservations. What I loved about The Dining Room is that you create login details and make your reservation online. You can view the dates that are sold out as well as how many spaces are left. The reasoning behind this is to ensure fairness of bookings which I really thought was a brand plus.

Welcome drinks consisted of bubbling cocktails. They were forgotten by the bartenders and served later on, thanks to the attentiveness of the host. Unfortunately no one checked if they should both be alcoholic.

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For dinner we were taken into a private dining room that seats 16. The difference in this dining experience is that everyone sits at the one table to encourage people to enjoy food whilst interacting with the other guests. It is a cool concept of dining and socializing. Our host included a few games to get people talking and know each other better. The walls of the dining room have chalkboard paint on the one side, for a fun take on guests leaving behind a message written in chalk. The other wall is host to South African art which you can purchase and take home immediately should you wish to do so.

Course 1: Oven fresh bread of petit knotted rolls, foccacia shards and flatbreads served with either thyme, chilli or volcanic salt butter. The bread served was way more than sufficient for the table. I couldn’t distinguish between the different butters but that could just be due to the subtlety of the flavours.

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Course 2: A Savoury Macaron Journey which was by far my favourite. It is very difficult to do macarons right and these were done so very right with an added clever play of incorporating savouriness. I could not pick a clear favourite even if I tried! The three different macarons we devoured:
– Basil infused macaron topped with springbok carpaccio,basil aioli and parmesan shards
– Butternut scented macaron with creamy gorgonzola cheese and crushed pistachio nuts
– Black pepper macaron with curried crocodile,shallot marmalade and fresh baby herbs

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Course 3: Poached herb infused prawns served with a scallop. The prawns were seasoned beautifully. It was rather sad that we received a very small piece of scallop and the texture of the crostini was a tad out of place with the rest of the dish. Overall it was a pleasant and another winner.

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Course 4: A wow factor beetroot infused Norwegian salmon served and cooked on a hot rock with courgette twirls and fresh berries. The concept of the dish was fantastic but the practicalities of eating fish on a hot rock didn’t translate well in practice. No one was asked how they would like their fish done. The fish was served mostly cooked through and continued to cook whilst on the hot rock. This was perfect for me as I like my fish as dead as can be. Some guests did feel the fish ended up being overcooked. The way the food was plated made it difficult to place the fish elsewhere to eat. I quite enjoyed my fish, but it was a rather big portion for a multi course meal. The beetroot reduction unfortunately dried up on the hot rock and didn’t add to the flavour and the vegetables were salty and bland.

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Course 5: A second main course of beef fillet drizzled with a white chocolate sauce on a bed of leek mashed potato with candied nuts and a parmesan crisp was next. I don’t eat beef and was offered a duck alternative. I really liked that it was not a problem to incorporate dietary requirements. The duck on its own was yummy but the accompaniments didn’t work well with the dish for me. A suggestion would be to check with customers how they like their fillet done.

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Course 6: A dessert that was disappointing for all. Pistachio mousse served on a berry coulis. This dish just did not deliver. I have read a few reviews where different desserts were on the menu and they all failed to impress.

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To end of dinner we were presented with a smash cake made of chocolate. One guest had to break it with a hammer and inside was mini candy jars to take home for each guest.

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I really enjoyed the experience that was not just a usual dinner. The food was great except for dessert. We had a great host and a lovely evening. Positives include online reservations, the ease of incorporating dietary requirements, trendy decor, reasonably priced and a great concept. Improvements include finding a dessert that wows, checking with guests how well done they would like their food served and serving plates of food the same way for all guests (pedantic I know)!

For more information visit The Dining Room website.

Love & Macarons,
CG

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