THE Christmas weeks always seem to be extra-stressful in the newsroom, but at this time of year – when everyone else is in holiday mode – there is also the odd pleasure to get us journos through our day.
For me, this respite came when Kipling’s Brasserie held a special tasting session of their new summer menu at the Boardwalk Hotel earlier this month.
Sous chef Robert Ducker prepared two starters, two mains and two desserts from the newly launched menu to provide an idea of some of the new dishes diners might expect.
It must be such a stimulating – not to mention fun! – experience for chefs to dream up a new menu.
In Kipling’s case this dream team is Robert along with executive chef Paul Bain, executive sous Allan Bezuidenhout, and Allan’s wife, Simone, who is the pastry sous chef at Kipling’s. And what these four have come up with by pooling their vast experience and culinary creativity is a marvel.
As far as starters go we were treated to a serving each of the ostrich carpaccio and the tuna tartar – and Banting devotees will be pleased to know both get the nod.
The two dishes are extremely innovative in terms of how they are served and also the exotic and at times unfamiliar flavours at play.
On to mains and my husband, Salvelio, devoured his delicious lamb rump and rib of lamb – a dish accompanied by roasted garlic risotto and pan juices, and the prettiest little fresh garlic flowers for added kick.
My mains of Pacific panga fish set with coconut rice, red curry sauce and pineapple chutney was also an interesting dish as I’d never had panga before and found it an unusually textured fish with a lot of flavour.
The red curry sauce was very fragrant too, though a little on the sweet side for my palate.
Desserts were a sheer delight. As with all the dishes we were served, the plating was exquisite. This especially for the basil and white chocolate panna cotta with its pretty crown of fresh and dried strawberries deftly interspersed with deep-fried basil leaves, and white chocolate bits like a cigar, and even some chocolate “dust”, the latter the result of some molecular gastronomy being practised in the kitchen!
The second dessert tested was the dark chocolate and amarula mousse – four cylinders of tempered chocolate tubes of varying lengths, filled with the amarula mousse along with praline cream, coffee cheesecake and honeycomb ice cream – yum!
What I appreciated about Kipling’s is that all their sauces and also their ice creams are made in house – there are no shortcuts here.
There is clearly lots of experimentation happening in this kitchen too, which is just as it should be.
Also, it is the little things that really make one’s meal here – such as the attentive service and special touches like the amuse bouche (a small chef’s treat which on our night was a deliciously creamy dollop of cauliflower soup) and the palate cleanser, in our case a silky smooth and absolutely sublime red pepper sorbet that I’ve been dreaming about ever since!
To book and check breakfast, lunch and dinner times, Kiplings Brasserie are on (041) 507-9452. – Louise Liebenberg