OYO: Robust and accessible food packed with flavour
Review by Bianca Coleman
(picture: Prawn salad – Photo by Bianca Coleman)
Every summer OYO Restaurant & Bar runs its wildly popular crayfish special. It’s been on for a while now, and stocks are already near depletion so if you want to take advantage of it, best you hurry.
For R265, you get two whole crayfish served with a portion of chips or rice, garden salad, a choice of sauces – garlic butter, lemon butter, peri-peri – and a glass of red or white wine from the award-winning Waterkloof Estate. OYO is right on the working harbour and it’s a magnificent place to sit right at the water’s edge watching the boats and crew members going about their business. The picture is completed by
Table Mountain in the background and it’s moments like these that you realise why Cape Town is one of the world’s top tourist destinations.
Although the crayfish special is nearing its end, there are plenty of other great options on the summer menu. The style of the food is robust and accessible, and packed with flavour. Chef Stefan Muller was given the brief to make it look as if it was “thrown” on the plate – no finicky, fussy presentations. Be that as it may, there isn’t a chef in the world worth his hat that would just do that. Same as achieving a no make-up look requires a woman to use a certain amount of foundation, powder, and mascara, the apparently casual appearance is still undertaken with care and consideration. Trust me, you’d know if the kitchen staff has literally just chucked all the ingredients in a bowl.
To showcase his menu, Chef Stefan sent out some small portions for us to taste, beginning with the masala prawn salad with baby spinach, peas, and a slightly spicy dressing. It is served with torn chunks of bread. This was followed with a perfectly traditional classic salad nicoise with seared tuna loin, green beans, black olives, warm new potatoes, and wedges of hardboiled egg on top of butter lettuce and drizzled with French dressing. Both were fresh, light and just right for a hot day.
As a main course sample, we had linguini (you could also choose penne noodles) with slow roasted duck in a sticky red wine sauce with a hint of sweetness. Being very weather-driven when eating out I probably would not have ordered it but it was utterly delicious.
We finished with a chalkboard special dessert – chocolate crème brulee topped with an elaborate sugar “lid” and nuts, and served with chocolate chip cookies. Very, very decadent.
The menu includes burgers, a variety of salads and pastas, open sandwiches, and main dishes like chicken Milanese, lamb cutlets, prawns, sustainable line fish, and of course everyone’s favourite waterside meal, deep fried hake with chips.