Less than a year old, the Signature Lux Hotel by Onomo Waterfront is proving itself to be a popular destination, not only for travelers seeking a convenient and affordable place to stay, but also for diners in its Vivaldi restaurant.
The location – at the entrance to the V&A Waterfront and close to Battery Park – is excellent. It taps into the business market, with the CTICC and Foreshore on its doorstep, making it a great spot for business breakfasts, power lunches, and after-work drinks and socialising. For everyone else, it’s easily accessible for a great dinner (and the other meals too); there’s plenty of parking in the underground garage across the road and it puts you between the city and the rest of the Waterfront – right in the middle of the buzz, but without all the crowds and traffic.
The hotel group is known for its modern streamlined approach, with things like self-service check-in, and app-driven services including in-room dining. I’ve stayed in this one, as well as the one in Sandton, Joburg, and the rooms are contemporary and functional without stinting on comfort, and décor is distinctly minimalist.
And then you get Vivaldi Restaurant & Bar, on the ground level of the hotel, which is in direct contrast, filled with gold baroque furniture and mirrors. At the same time, it works around the pre-existing beams which supported the warehouse it once was, built in 1901 for German importer Wilhelm Spilhaus, combining the old and the new. “Some of the rooms have these beautiful beams running through them and we also have an incredible collection of antique furniture thanks to the developer’s vision for the hotel,” says general manager Walda Meyer.
It is grand and opulent, yet still comfortable and friendly. Keeping the glamour factor going are the nightly performances by students from Waterfront Theatre School, which is located diagonally opposite the hotel. Established in the early 1990s, the school offers training in the “triple threat” genre, a description used for artists who sing, dance and act.
Performances take place Mondays to Saturdays from around 7pm, and the experience is not at all intrusive, nor is it as formal as some other dinner theatre venues. Every now and then throughout the evening, your servers will take up position on the staircase (which leads to a small private dining room which has a view over the restaurant) where they will sing a song or two, before returning to bringing you your biltong-spiced sirloin on the bone, served with Madagascan pepper sauce, tempura onion rings, and fries.
Says Meyer: “It was a natural progression to afford the performers a platform to experience a real audience on a nightly basis. The hotel overlooks the theatre school and with the theatrical and dramatic décor of Vivaldi, it seemed a perfect match.”
Students perform renditions of old, well remembered songs as well as their latest favourite hits. “Vivaldi Restaurant gave me something I’ll always be grateful for. Not only wages that help me through life daily, but a platform that has pushed me to unlock my potential,” says Chad Baai, one of the restaurant’s singing waiters.
The menu at Vivaldi includes light meals like the signature Lux Burger – beef patty or chicken fillet with BBQ basting, topped with melted cheddar, streaky bacon and avo, with fries; if that’s not the perfect burger I don’t know what is. Other light options include hake and chips, and fried or grilled calamari.
For my main course dinner, I had Norwegian salmon marinated in an oriental sauce and accompanied by mango and bell pepper salsa. My partner had the simple line fish of the day with vegetables and potatoes. I don’t normally go for dessert, but I have to admit a weakness for cheesecake, especially when it’s the white chocolate kind. Served with a sweet cherry compote, one little taste led to devouring the entire slice.
* Vivaldi is open daily for breakfast, from 6.30am until 10.30am, which includes a buffet selection as well as a la carte hot dishes; lunch Mondays to Saturdays from noon until 2.30pm; and dinner Mondays to Saturdays, from 6.30pm until 10.30pm (kitchen closes at 10pm).
The address is 24 Alfred Street, Cape Town. For more information, call 021 811 4970; or visit www.vivaldirestaurant.co.za.