Manna from heaven


Everyone has their own symbol for summer. Mine is bold red watermelon juice dribbling down a chin. So, Manna’s watermelon salad sums up my idea of summer on a plate. The watermelon is served sliced, accompanied by Danish feta cheese and Serrano ham (R80). It’s simple and so visually striking that I had to keep my appetite at bay while my companion photographed the dish from every angle.

Fresh and seasonal is Manna’s mantra. As well as the delicious watermelon salad, we also tried the strawberry salad – a sundial-like array of crunchy vegetables such as asparagus and sugar peas served with delicious cranberry-infused cheese (R85). Salads are accompanied by a generous selection of Manna epicurean breads, baked fresh daily on the premises. The pecan nut and raisin rye is sublime.

Manna also offers a warm, more substantial daily special. On the day that we dined it was salmon. My Swedish companion put the salmon through its paces. Raising the pink flesh to her lips, she momentarily closed her eyes before announcing 100%!

There’s a wonderful, delightfully quirky selection of local wines. We started with the Villiera Traditional Brut (R45/R190) and followed by a Rickety Bridge Sauvignon Blanc (R35/R120). If your work schedule doesn’t allow for wine with lunch, the mocktails are terrific. For an almost edible ice tea, try the fruit-packed Tea with the Queen (R35) and milkshakes, all of which are made of fresh fruit.

The menu at Manna is unpretentious, easy to navigate and divided into sections: simple food; seasonal salads; open sandwiches, comfort food and “afternoon delights”, which consist of a board of cheese and charcuterie, coffee, teas and sweet delights. It is served between 3 and 5 in the afternoon.

The three flatbread meals present an interesting option. Especially tempting is the one of coriander and humus, mozzarella, Serrano ham, brie cheese and Turkish figs. Vegetarians can enjoy the aubergine caviar, mozzarella, Swiss chard, spinach, sundried tomato and goat’s cheese.

Manna might come from heaven, but the carefully selected fresh seasonal products and the plenitude of fruits remind us of earth’s abundance. The food is cooling but the welcome is warm. Owner Betsy is on hand to make sure that guests leave hugged and happy.

Manna Epicure (restaurant, deli, catering, functions), 151 Kloof Street , Upper Gardens, Cape Town, 021 426 2413, 8am–5pm (kitchen closes 4pm),
closed Mondays. On Wednesday evenings, Manna Epicure hosts live music with local artists.

Dawn Kennedy – Dec 7th 2012, 16:01

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