When Licorish hit the food scene a few years ago their menu had aniseed (which pretty much tastes like liquorice to me) on practically every dish. I am grateful that isn’t the case anymore because aniseed caters for a very specific type of palette. Licorish is the sister restaurant of the Green Peppercorn, which I am not a fan of in the least. The shopping centres that they are both housed in have the same set up for restaurants.
If I could describe the décor of Licorish in one word it would be red. Red couches, red chairs and even the red sundried tomato paste provide focal points in the decor. You can either sit in the restaurant’s small in house space as seen in the pictures or in the more open plan mall section. A beautifully decorated restaurant and perfect for a date during the day or at night. I was surprised at how much I loved the ambience at night which is cosy, intimate and romantic.
The menu can best be described as modern fusion with complicated overpowering flavours that don’t necessarily work well. Much like their name Licorish which is uniquely spelt, you will notice that there is nothing normal about the ingredient and flavour combinations on the menu. Expect to get up and pick a bottle of wine as there is no wine list. The freshly squeezed juices should be skipped as they taste watered down.
The complimentary sliced bread is always fresh and served with a sundried tomato dip. All restaurants should go the sliced bread route, who wants a stale, hard recycled bread roll? Anyone? No. The sundried tomato is a tad overboard in the acidity department so I would rather have butter instead.
Truffle, potato and field mushroom wellington with parmesan, cauliflower purée and porcini is a good original vegetarian dish. I do love my mushrooms, they are my favourite vegetable but this dish tasted of mushrooms layered on mushrooms. I thought the dish needed a different sauce to break up and complement the flavours. This is not on the menu at the moment.
A pleasant surprise was the green salad we ordered as a side. Simple and delicious made with green shoots and leaves topped with plenty of parmesan and a yummy dressing.
Socttish salmon with harissa crust, passion fruit hollandaise and zucchini and coconut samoosa for R145 is a nice dish. The fish was delicious and cooked well but the samoosa flavours were strange, leaving an unpleasant taste in your mouth that didn’t work for the dish in the slightest.
The second time we had the salmon it was bland and oozing water indicating the fish was frozen not fresh. Even the consistency of the sauce had changed the second time around, not necessarily for the better. You don’t need to do much with salmon except ensure its of good quality and cooked well. Unfortunately these boxes were not ticked on our second and most recent visit.
There is a special on starters where you can order four and pay for three, perfect for when you are dining out with a few people. A popular choice which the waiters sometimes forget to mention are the starter, main and dessert tasting plates. Main options when available include lamb/game/steak/fish/vegetarian options with a trio of dishes of your selected choice.
The bf started gobbling up his fillet tasting plate before I could take pictures. I can tell you what to expect though: a chorizo crusted fillet medallion served with butternut and a red wine reduction; fillet medallion with a confit garlic, mustard bolognese served on a potato rosti and lastly tender beef fillet strips with mushroom velouté in a puff pastry served with vanilla steamed spinach. He wasn’t impressed with the dishes as he found the cuts of meat were bad and sinewy, the dishes all tasted quite similar and he only enjoyed the flavour of the mushroom sauce.
I have tried both the lamb and fish tasting plates. A month ago the tasting plate prices were R155 which is good value for money seeing that you get to try three different dishes. When I went back a month later the price had increased to R175, which is a little pricey for the quality. The first lamb dish is a beer and marmite lamb ribbetjie slow roasted in palm sugar served with sweet potato mash. Loved the sweet potato mash but didn’t get much flavour coming through in the rib.
Lamb shank korma samoosa served with a baked brinjal, madras cream and brinjal chutney. Really disliked this dish because I don’t like brinjal and didn’t like the lamb mince filling either.
Herb crusted lamb chop served with mint, mash and a wholegrain mustard sauce. My favourite of the trio as the flavours were kept quite simple.
Chilli salt squid with cardamom mayo was the first dish on the fish tasting plate. Not sure why the batter on this tasted like Fritos. The squid was a little rubbery but I enjoyed it anyway.
Scottish salmon fish cake with a lime coriander mayonnaise, spicy cucumber spaghetti and a tomato chive ponzu. I liked this dish, it’s not often you get to eat a delicious fish cake that isn’t filled with mainly veggies.
Blackened kingklip served on coconut risotto with apple chutney. My least favourite dish, the kingklip was bland, tasted old and the sweetness of the coconut risotto didn’t complement the fish.
I found lunch time service to be slow, while in a big group at dinner it was superb. Overall I find it to be a better than average restaurant and most definitely way better than The Green Peppercorn. I personally struggle to pick a dish that I want to eat due to the interesting flavour combinations – nothing stands out. It’s also a little annoying that you can’t order the street food options after 6pm given the limited main meal menu. There are predominately beef (which I don’t eat) and fish dishes (which isn’t done well); with only two vegetarian and one chicken option. Its superb rating of 4.6/5 on Zomato is not something I can wrap my head around. I reckon people love it here because of the tasting plates and out of the norm dishes. Although I have seen people write rave reviews about wraps so they probably do not get out much and/or have low standards. Its a lovely restaurant to try if you willing to experiment with weird flavours and not too fussy about how your food tastes.
Ring: (011) 706 0991
Hop: Nicolway Shopping Centre, William Nicol Drive, Bryanston, Sandton
Licorish & Liquorice,