By Bianca Coleman
(Picture: Dukka spiced tuna with harissa dipping sauce)
The latest addition to the Kove Collection of restaurants and bars is Dalliance at the V&A Waterfront.
You’ll find it in “millionaire’s mile”, where all the posh retailers are. Even if you don’t normally shop in that precinct, and are less about the Louboutins and Louis Vuitton and more about Mr Price and H&M, venture into this rarified atmosphere and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Dalliance extends in an L-shape farther than you’d think by looking at the shop front, and it has sliding windows along a counter with a view of the ocean, which can be viewed from every table in the restaurant. Sea and sky blues are picked up and complemented in the décor details; red hearts and roses, and crossbones on the mirrors provide a touch of quirkiness.
With the concept of “sharing plates”, it’s the perfect place to pop in for something small and a glass of wine while you rest your feet from all the shopping. Add to that the opening hours, and it becomes a destination for a pre- or post-movie meal. If time is on your side, gather a group of friends and order several plates to share. That’s what we did.
The menu is divided into seafood, meat, vegetarian, and sweets. Oh how wonderful it would be to not be January dieting – chocolate marshmallows with mango and peanut butter, baked pineapple cheesecake, coconut vanilla rice pudding with hot mini doughnuts, chocolate beignets with Chantilly cream and raspberries…one day.
We ordered several plates all at once. I loved the salmon tataki with ponzu, garlic crisps and cucumber, and wished it had been a bigger portion. It’s not really suitable for sharing (because you’ll want it all to yourself).
Also from the seafood section we sampled garlic prawns with chilli, olive oil, and herbs; dukka spiced tuna with harissa dipping sauce (not too hot and spicy), and a delicious oyster each, dressed with pear, ginger, coconut, soy, and chilli.
From the meat options we chose fillet with béarnaise sauce and skinny fries, butter chicken with soft warm naan bread, and beautifully tender and fatty beef short rib with duxelle mushrooms and a marrow bone gratin. We balanced the meal with the fantastic Dalliance Summer Salad -greens, nuts, avo, feta, and apple – which was a generous portion and excellent value for money.
Other dishes include pastrami salmon with crème fraîche and rye toast, calamari with sticky pineapple and vinegar peppers, peri peri sardines, peppered cubes of beef fillet, lamp chops, sticky and spicy chicken wings, and a simple spaghetti with garlic, olive oil, and chilli.
To drink there are craft beers, bubblies, and lots of lovely wines including many of my favourites. Served in 100ml glasses, 250ml carafes, or by the bottle, you can sip on Pecan Stream or Ken Forrester chenin, unwooded chardonnays from Constantia Uitsig or Warwick, and robust reds like The Chocolate Block and Rupert & Rothschild Classique.
For something in between, I recommend pinot noir from Creation or Iona, which are both superb. Of course it’s never too early for a cocktail, and there are several to try, with lots of fresh fruity flavours captured in the summer glass.
* Plate prices range from R40 to R100.
Dalliance is open daily from 11am until 11pm, shop No. 7216A, Victoria Wharf, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.
For reservations, call 021 418 1037; or send an email to email@example.com.
Visit www.dalliancerestaurant.co.za for more information.