Can We Toque? A Tavola, Claremont

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One of the highlights of any trip outside town is that special meal with special friends.  Mind you, the friends are optional.  I have had some superb but solitary meals while travelling on my own, and need to search far and wide for company as excellent as my own.

However, when I was recently in Cape Town, I took the opportunity to dine out with two favourite foody friends, Mr and Mrs M.

They suggested a restaurant near my hotel, and so we ended up at A Tavola in Clarement.

It is a bustling, welcoming place, and was very busy on the Thursday evening we went.   Having brushed aside the offer of some Italian mineral water, we went for the local stuff, as you don’t know how much longer you will find local water in CT.

In breach of every rule of restaurant reviewing, we all opted for the same starter – gnocchi with gorgonzola.   They were all excellent.  Super texture on the gnocchi, which appeared to have been home made, and a beautifully cheesy, but not too cheesy, sauce.

For mains, I had veal saltimbocca.  The veal with ham and sage seemed to have been breaded and was covered with a dense tomato sauce, which overwhelmed the other flavours.   The veal was way overcooked and the coating was crunchy.  I am sure I could have done a far better job myself.

Mrs M had pasta ribbons with calamari and seemed to enjoy it, while Mr M had what I think was lasagne.  He liked it, too.

He had an ice cream for pud, and pronounced it good.  Mrs M and I shared a cheese platter.  What a disgrace.  Tiny chunks of waxy cheese, served in a part of South Africa where such superb cheeses are made.  An awful end to a meal.

Service was OK but a little offhand.

We ordered two bottles of a 5* 2013 Cab Franc from Chamonix, and loved every drop.  Mr M was the only one driving after the meal and behaved himself.

The bill, with tip, came to around R1 600, with tip, but would have been a thousand-ish without the wine.

Was it OK?  Yes.  Was it great/memorable/a must-visit?    Nope.

Rating:  I give it 3.5*

Key to the Ratings….

1*    Dog food is nicer

2*.  Cat food is nicer

3*.  Not bad if Woolworths is sold out of ready meals.

4*.  I like it

5*.  I love it.  Not to be missed.

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