I’ve officially been in the blogging doldrums – it’s been well over a month since my last post. Not good. But I’ve been stirred out of my blog lethargy by many people asking why they haven’t heard from me for so long. Thank you for missing my posts – and now that I’m back I have so much to share with you so watch this space. Starting off with a lovely new addition to the Cape Town restaurant scene – Zest in Sea Point.
Yes, we’ve made it to Cape Town! It was looking somewhat dodgy towards the latter end of 2021 with the appearance of the omicron variant of Covid-19. Lucky for us things calmed down in time for us to head south. So now I’m on a quest to inspire you all to try out some of the establishments in this superbly foodie city.
Zest is located in a boutique hotel in Sea Point with lovely views out over the Atlantic Ocean. It’s the brainchild of Bulgarian-born chef Pavel and opened in June 2021. Pavel’s mantra is ‘fresh and local at its best’ and he takes time to carefully choose only the best ingredients which he transforms into a selection of delightful dishes. His brand new wood-fired grill is in the heart of the restaurant’s kitchen where he uses the local kameldoring wood which gives its distinct smoked aroma to fish, meat and vegetables.
Service is welcoming and friendly and our charming waitress talked us through the menu highlights, making everything sound mouthwatering and therefore creating decision-making difficulties. That’s a happy place for me though and a challenge I’m pleased to accept! Zest’s menu offers plenty of flexibility as you mix and match starters, mains and sides with some of the dishes coming in two different sizes. So we managed to devise quite a feast.
What’s on the menu
I love a fresh oyster and at Zest you can order them with a selection of different dressings. They’re Luderitz oysters (which means they are from Namibia) and my choice was to have them with Asian dressing. Seafood heaven in a shell. I could sit on Zest’s beautiful terrace and eat oysters like this for many, many hours – in fact I may well do that.
The citrus tea cured line fish, came with pickled cucumber, radish, yoghurt, dill and wasabi dressing. This is one of those beautiful dishes (both in looks and taste) that is bounding with freshness, flavours and textures. A true masterpiece with all its little details.
And then there’s the sautéed prawns which are served with chilli butter and a tomato and red pepper fondue. Beautiful juicy prawns, and plenty of them with flavoursome tomato and chilli sauce. This is a starter portion and is certainly substantial.
Another starter, which my husband chose as his main – the Asian beef fillet with stir fry mushroom, baby marrow, spring onion, sesame and nori. Melt-in-the-mouth fillet wrapped in the arms of great Asian flavours, and certainly large enough to satisfy as a main.
A Delightful Array of Mains
The plancha line fish is served with lentils, tomato fondue and grilled baby marrow. This dish comes in two sizes and this portion is the smaller of them which is just the perfect size for me. Today’s line fish was cob, one of my favourites, and it was just as sweet and delicate as I remember. And it’s hard to beat a perfectly cooked lentil!
There’s a wood-fire grilled beef section with steaks available in different sizes. This is the large fillet which is served with a delicious selection of accompaniments including confit onions, cherry tomato, mushrooms and tenderstem broccoli. Steak lovers need look no further for their satisfaction!
We liked the sound of the sweet potato starter so ordered a small portion of it as one of our sides. See, I told you they’re flexible! One of the best vegetable dishes I’ve had for a long time – charred sweet potato served with baby spinach, creamy feta, roasted walnuts and raisins.
As usual when it’s time for dessert we’re replete! But today we decided we simply had to sample the lemon and thyme meringue which came with lemonade parfait and sour yoghurt, which we shared between us. Good decision – appropriately zesty and as light as air, it made a fitting finish to a fabulous lunch.
There can be few more pleasurable ways to spend an afternoon than sitting on Zest’s lovely terrace with friends indulging in Pavel’s wonderful dishes and sipping on chilled rose. The perfect way to ensure I was jolted out of the blogging doldrums to share the experience with you. Eating Covent Garden is back and loving it.
Today’s price point
The food we ate today which formed a good-sized lunch for four came to just over R1000 altogether. That’s around £50 at today’s exchange rate so Zest is extremely good value. Especially for those of us lucky enough to be UK visitors.
We enjoyed the Steenberg Ruby Rose at R220 (just over £10) a bottle. White wines start from R175 (around £8.50 a bottle) and reds from R195 (£9.50) a bottle. There’s also a tempting array of cocktails available from R75 (around £3.70).
Zest is at Newkings Boutique Hotel, 2nd Floor, Piazza Da Luz, 94 Regent Road, Sea Point, Cape Town.