Dawn Kennedy – Aug 31st 2011, 00:00
Roberto was previously executive chef at the Twelve Apostles where he delighted diners with the fynbos menu that he pioneered. However, his long cherished dream was to open his own place. Finally, on July 22nd the dream was fulfilled. On that evening, as champagne glasses, chinked, Roberto’s proud father told me that his son had first announced his decision to be a chef at the age of 14.
Opening a restaurant in Cape Town during winter might be considered a daring decision, but Roberto wanted to be ready for season and build local clientele. And despite it being the low season, Roberto’s is busy every evening. Right now, Roberto’s is the talk of the town and for good reason.
The overall ambience at Roberto’s says, “everyone welcome”. Indeed, it attracts a fabulous mix of clientele, including families, travellers with backpacks and lovers snuggling in the corner. The interior is chic white uptown New York style. A Perspex wall displaying interesting shaped roots add a dash of ecology and the ambient Fado music playing in the background strums your soul. Outside, for warmer evenings, tall hedges create a European street dining space.
Off-course it’s the food that really matters. My companion and i both ordered starters from the tapas menu. My grilled baby calamari tubes in lemon butter sauce with a touch of peril peri served with fresh bread, were delectable. The calamari was plump and tender, and the creamy sauce had a clean pepper zing. My partner’s Springbok Carpaccio served with baby salad leaves, pecorino shavings and basil pesto was smoky and succulent. For main course, I opted for the Kingklip served with chorizo mash, roast vegetables and lemon coriander sauce. The fish was moist and the portion hearty. My companion had six Prawns nacional, topped with a Portuguese style sauce consisting of beer, garlic and mild green chillies. The hot Toffee pudding with amarula custard sauce was a warming winner. But the cheesecake, probably the most popular pudding, was the talk of the table. As staff member, Mary-Lea says, “Whenever Roberto goes, the cheesecake follows. “ Roberto’s variation of this classic is served with chocolate glaze and a warm cherry sauce.
My evening at Roberto’s left an impression that lingered long after the meal was eaten. I can thoroughly recommend it for appetising, unpretentious and flavoursome food served with a smile in a chic environment.