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3 December 2014

Aubergine Restaurant (Cape Town)

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Back in late March and early April of 2012, Jeremy and I traveled to Cape Town, South Africa. We took this trip to celebrate our one year anniversary. In essence, this was our second annual honeymoon. We enjoy taking annual trips to commemorate each year of marriage. We did it up big the first time: we took a two week vacation in Cape Town.

Since it was our first anniversary, we wanted to have a special meal to celebrate. We asked the owner of the inn where we stayed for a recommendation. Without hesitation she said, “Aubergine!” She recommended it as the nicest and best restaurant in all of Cape Town. Of course, we were intrigued.

Thankfully, Aubergine was located just a short walk from our lodging. Since we had an early reservation, we decided to walk over. Being in early April, the nights were cool and pleasant since the seasons were changing from summer to fall (remember, southern hemisphere). We took the leisurely stroll at our own pace, further readying ourselves for the magnificent meal we anticipated.

Aubergine Restaurant - Cape Town, South Africa

Once at Aubergine, we were pleasantly surprised to find that they offered a five course tasting menu with wine pairing. Even better was that this meal only cost us $120 USD per person (including tax and tip). The exchange rate from rand to dollars was 8:1 at the time so our money went quite far in Cape Town. In the US, this particular meal (with wine pairing) would have cost us closer to $200 per person, especially in a market like New Orleans, where we live.

To make matters even better, the sommelier personally poured each glass of wine for us and explained why he’d paired each wine with its particular course. He was kind, gracious, and generous. We even tipped him on the side for his outstanding service. I’m not sure if that was kosher or not, but thankfully, he took the money. This meal and pairing was the best either of us had ever experienced. Everything was so well matched. It was the perfect meal.

Aubergine Restaurant - Cape Town, South Africa

I’ve only shared a few photos with you today because most of my photos were blurry and not really suitable for this site. If you’re inclined you can check out my original post done back in 2012 on my Culicurious site. There you can see the meal from top to bottom. Here I’ll include the highlights and a few gems that we encountered there.

As I said, the meal was five course meal, but all told, we were served eight different courses. Of course, only the base five courses had wines paired with them, but everything was so tasty. The portions were well planned, as well. We walked out of there full and satisfied, but we were still able to eat all that was presented to us.

This was our menu:

  • Amuse-Bouche: chilled beef prime rib with sprouts
  • 1st Course: cured fish tartare with avocado compote and salmon roe blini
  • 2nd Course: broth of tiger prawn and coconut cream with aromas of lemongrass and ginger (pictured in this post)
  • Intermezzo: pear sorbet (pictured in this post)
  • 3rd Course: supreme of kingklip (fish) with tomato-basil beurre blanc and saffron potatoes
  • 4th Course: Fairview Blue Rock cheese baked with red figs in puff pastry
  • 5th Course: chocolate marquise with baumkuchen and prickly pear sorbet
  • Friandise: variety of small desserts and petit fours

Everything was just as tasty as it sounds, but two courses really stood out above the rest. The broth of tiger prawn and coconut cream was simply sublime. It had a depth of flavor that was actually a bit surprising. The rich creamy base was well-balanced by the lemongrass and ginger flavors also present in the soup. My second favorite course was the pear sorbet. It was just like eating fresh, sweet, juicy pears. The sorbet made for the perfect palate cleanser. It really set us up well for the tasty kingklip course that followed.

If you ever find yourself in Cape Town, check out Aubergine. It’s a great way to get a top-notch meal at a very fair price. Make sure you try the wine pairings when you dine. South Africa is known for its wines and will not disappoint!

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