HQ: Perfectly simplistic fare for meat lovers
By Bianca Coleman
When HQ opened in December 2008, coming onto the Cape Town restaurant scene with an outrageously simple concept of serving only one kind of meal, I said if it was only going to serve sirloin, it had jolly well better be the best sirloin possible.
It didn’t disappoint then, and it’s still going strong, although diners now have more options than just the salad, steak and chips. However, for meat lovers like us, it’s the perfect meal, especially on Tuesdays when it’s “Date Night”.
Apparently this means different things to different people. While we were there as a couple and taking the concept seriously, the special offer attracts all sorts. “Look,” said my partner, suitably impressed, “That guy over there has SIX women!” I don’t know what that story was, but to my left was a large table with what I assumed to be parents with a range of small children ranging from a baby in a carrier to a medium-sized one, which spent the entire night playing on a tablet. Hardly the way to instill an appreciation of eating out, but who am I to judge. Maybe it was the first time they’d been out of the house in years.
The point is, Date Night is a great special offer. The meal normally costs R198 a person; on Tuesdays it’s R250 for two, including a glass of Wolftrap Red for each diner. Or in our case, all for me since my partner doesn’t drink alcohol. Plus that automatically makes him the designated driver, so I win.
The straightforward menu begins with a salad of iceberg lettuce with toasted pine nuts and shaved parmesan dressed with vinaigrette. It’s quickly followed by a 250g sirloin, served sliced, which is topped with Café de Paris butter and served with skinny fries.
You can have as many fries and as much butter as you want for no extra charge; if you need more steak you have to pay for it, which is fair. An extra salad is R10.
Is it the best sirloin in Cape Town? That’s subjective and an argument that will never be settled as long as there are steak lovers and steak houses. As regular consumers of this particular cut, at home and out, we both agreed that this was a great meal, and we both enjoyed our steaks. The restaurant was understandably busy but service was brisk and attentive.
Desserts are extra, and there is a wonderful selection. Have something simple like affogato, sorbet or crème brulee, or go for something more adventurous like a deconstructed lemon meringue. I had the spiced pumpkin mousse layered with crunchy crumble and topped with whipped cream. Classic desserts include malva pudding, baked cheesecake and tiramisu. If you prefer savoury rather than sweet, finish with a reasonably priced (R50) cheese platter of four local artisanal cheeses served with fig preserve and a farm style, wood fired corn bread.
Since its inception, HQ has expanded its basic menu to include boards and flatbreads, and tapas. The cocktail menu is spectacular. Besides Date Night, other specials include Monday night two-for-one steaks, Thursday night half price tapas, and DJs on Thursday and Friday nights.
HQ is in Heritage Square, 100 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town.
Call 021 424 6373, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open Mondays to Thursdays 12pm until midnight, Fridays and Saturdays 12pm till 1am.
For more information, visit www.hqrestaurant.co.za.