Halfway through our meal, T looked up and said to me, "This may very well be the best meal we've had in Cape Town".
Opal Lounge, reportedly the most beautiful restaurant in Cape Town, sits on the trendy Kloof Street. This place is not just all looks; the execution of their menu was impressive. Back from a full day of activities, T and I were sitting around our hotel and not feeling quite hungry that night. At the back of my head I knew we had to visit Opal Lounge after reading so much about it online. Finally at about 8:45pm we hopped into the taxi and told the driver we would like to go to Opal Lounge. He knew where it was right away, and there wasn't a need to tell him the cross streets. I guess that is where people in Cape Town like to go.
Opal Lounge is a beautiful, quaint, and charming restaurant housed in a bungalow. It was dark on the outside, only with very dim lighting that guided us through the gates and along the walkway from the street to the door. We arrived at 9pm and evidently were the last guests to be seated. The restaurant is divided into several sections and the dining area we were seated at was full when we got there. Being the last customers to be seated that night, we were also one of the last ones to leave. The dining room reflected a combination of decor influences. Against one of the walls was an old English fireplace. African themed rugs were hung on another side of the wall. Hanging on the windows were more African-inspired paraphernalia. Delicate crystal chandeliers adorned the ceiling.
The contemporary and creative cuisine of Opal Lounge proved to be memorable for us. The space was very dim, romantic, and even intimate. We wished our dim-looking pictures did more justice to the excellent food, but we could not have asked for a better ambiance that night.
If our starter was any indication of the rest of the night, it definitely set the right delicious tone. We started off with the duo of pork cheek (not pictured). The platter came with a combination of braised pork cheek and pulled pork cheek. The braised cheek was moist and tender, with the melt-in-the-mouth effect. It also had a taste of Asian influence in it. The pulled pork cheek was shaped into triangular pieces, breaded, and deep fried.
The star of the night was the beef tataki. Thin rare slices of beef were served on a bed of winter melon along with a side of shimeiji mushrooms. The beef was excellent and there was simple pureness in the taste of the fresh rare beef. The three dipping accompaniments that came with the dish were the yuzu citrus sauce, ground mixed pepper, and wasabi aoili. The impressive aspect was how well each dipping accompaniment complemented and enhanced the fresh rare beef without masking the pureness in taste of the meat. Clearly the dipping accompaniments were not only for creative purposes; they worked out really well.
With the evident presence of game meat in cuisines in South Africa, we got the Namibian venison made from springbok loin. Served medium rare, we though this dish was perfectly executed in taste and presentation. The loin's texture was as if the meat had been dry-aged which gave it a concentration of flavor in the tender and soft meat. The springbok loin sat on a bed of potato puree with asparagus, shimeiji mushrooms, and jus glaze. The creativity of this dish clearly shone through with the accompaniment of mashed potatoes with chives rolled in phyllo dough, and then deep fried. The mashed potato rolls were then sliced and made to look like spring rolls.
Service was professional but relaxed. Clearly, there was no rush for Opal Lounge to end the night.
30 Kloof Street
Cape Town 8001