Can we Toque? Reviewing Bellinis and Turn ‘n Tender. And the mis-steak-en search for a good steak

A missed-steak-en quest.

What is a sandwich?    In my experience, it is two pieces of bread with a filling, or if you are into Nordic style, it can be one slice topped with, well, toppings.

I am partial to a good sandwich, and my mate George loves a good steak.  It was a Monday and our first choice of venue was closed for lunch, so we opted for Bellinis, which is just off Oxford Road in Illovo.

We arrived early and it was pretty empty, but soon filled up.   We were welcomed by a lady with a face so grumpy that I wondered if we had stumbled into an above-ground dominatrix place.  As warm welcomes go, this had gone some time ago.

There was an excellent wine choice on 2 chalk boards, with food specials on the 3rd, and I opted for the ever-reliable, nicely-chilled, Haute Cabriere Chardonnay-Pinot Noir blend.

I wasn’t that hungry, so skipped the starter, while George opted for fish cakes. He claims that these are a good barometer of the quality of a restaurant. They were cold in the middle, and he found a fish bone in one. Not good.

George ordered a steak, and I went for a steak sandwich. It was the strangest sandwich I have ever been served.   On the plate were two slices of hard, dry, tasteless, awful toast.  A Rock of Gibraltar-shaped lump of fillet was placed between the slices.  It was nice meat, but cooked with abstraction and indifference.

I questioned the layout and was told by an even fiercer-faced assistant dominatrix that this is how they do their steak sandwiches.  It went back, and that was the end of the meal for me.

George’s steak was OK but not memorable.

So for our next steak experience we opted for the nearby Turn ‘n Tender steakhouse in the Illovo Centre.

It took a while to place our orders with the mumbling waiter.  I had a blue cheese burger, which was a bit heavy, but was served with a generous jacket potato.  However, the small pack of butter on the side was liquid and I wondered how long (hours, days, weeks?) it had stood at room temperature.

The wine was a safe choice – a bottle of red Warwick 1st Lady.  It was way, way, way, way, way too warm, and one wondered whether they had mistakenly put the wine on the grill instead of the meat.  Ice cubes were required to lower the temperature, but they diluted the wine too much and it was not a great pleasure to drink.

George opted for the sirloin, which was on special, and which he ordered medium rare.   It arrived way overcooked with a basting sauce which was layered on top.  The problem is that he did not like the basting sauce and had asked for it to be left off.  There seems to be a serious problem of communication between the waiters, who ask you what you would like, and the cooks, who serve you the steaks as they wish to cook them.

We had arrived a bit late, but even so it was disconcerting that the staff installed themselves en-masse at a nearby table for their lunch.   Don’t charge restaurant prices and expect your guests to dine in the staff canteen.

I gather that despite this experience, George returned for dinner with a visiting friend, and the meat was undercooked, cold in the middle.    It was sent back.

No tip was offered at the end, which led to a protest from the waiter.

It was not a successful steak search for George.  He had to send back his meat in the Wanderers Club because it was clearly not fresh at yet another lunch rdv.

The quest continues.


Tweets of the Day

Stansaid Airport (@StansaidAirport): Old Benny there was just saying ‘when one door closes, another door opens!’ Lovely man, terrible shuttle bus driver.

Stansaid Airport (@StansaidAirport): BBC: Court convicts Glasgow man of printing counterfeit notes and orders him to pay £100,000. I don’t think they’ve thought this through.

Mark Twain (@TheMarkTwain):  A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.

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