Ever since it opened in 2007, Myoga’s “east meets west” fusion offering has been a popular Cape Town treat. Now, the restaurant once voted as one of the top 100 in the world by Condé Nast Traveller (and Restaurant of the Year by House and Leisure Magazine), is serving up something even more delicious.
“Myoga, the Japanese name for what is part of the ginger family, is grown especially for its edible flower buds and full-flavoured shoots, and together with root ginger, is one of my favourite ingredients,” says award-winning chef Mike Basset. “True fusion is the integration of ingredients from across the world that join together in a contemporary combination of flavours without creating a confusing juxtaposition resulting in a seamless style of fine cooking.”
In line with Basset’s belief that the best way to experience dining out is to taste from a diverse array of dishes, Myoga offers a seven-course tasting dinner (at the crazy low price of only R325). And while you can choose your own wines from the extensive list – they make great cocktails too – you’re better off opting for the recommended pairings (R565 per person).
The meal starts with a surprise from the kitchen, an amuse-bouche ‘tickler’, and a selection of bread to accompany a glass of crisp chardonnay pinot noir brut rosé from Simonsig. Then, to begin, the most popular options are all white scallop (macadamia buttered root vegetable puree, refried white beans, horseradish cream served with orange gastrique) or the soft and juicy caramel soy pork belly (paired with an Eikendal Pinotage, although a pinot noir might also work well).
For the ‘winter fashion’ course, go for the butternut stinging nettle naartjie risotto with blue vein clotted cream and toasted pistachios (paired with a Secateurs Chenin Blanc from A.A. Badenhorst Family Wines). And for the surf ‘n’ turf selection, choose the smoked butter poached marron (salmon crispy, caramel tamarind, tamarind seed brittle and broccoli rabe) paired with a viognier from Fairview.
After the palate cleanser comes the main event. It’s hard to choose between the pink duck breast (with date capers olives and carrot arancini) or the boer-spiced blackened ostrich (with smoked butter spinach phyllo parcels, tomato pomegranate salad, and curried apricot puree). In the end, I opted for the lamb shawarma flavours (lamb chop steamed aubergine green onion, falafel, and lemon goats cheese butter) paired with a Fable Mountain Vineyards Night Sky red blend.
It’s just as tricky to choose a dessert, although it’s good that they offer the “Chevin on toast” (paired with Heatherleigh Family Reserve Noble Late Harvest from the Waterford Estate) for those who don’t have much of a sweet tooth. You can also opt for some of their specialty teas (the Rooibos Shangri-La is an exotic treat!) while rounding off your meal, which includes a final surprise from the kitchen that mirrors the one at the start.
The menu changes every six months so it might be different when you eat there. But here’s some advice that applies regardless. If you’re there for lunch, opt for a seat outside and be sure to spend some time exploring part of Vineyard Hotel’s lush six-acre garden after your meal. And if you’d like to get up close and personal with your food, opt for a seat at the bar surrounding the open plan kitchen so that you can watch the chefs create magic right in front of your eyes.
But your best bet is to come as a large group so that everyone can order something different. (Sharing is caring after all.) In fact, if you’re celebrating a special occasion (or company lunch) with 10 to 16 people, you can experience private dining in the cool and quiet wine cellar, which even lets you bring your own music. Either way, make sure you come hungry. When the food’s this good, you might as well make a meal of it.
I was a guest of Myoga, Vineyard Hotel, 60 Colinton Road, Newlands, Cape Town. Call +27 21 657 4545, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.myoga.co.za. Lunch is from 11:30 to 15:00 (Tuesday to Saturday, with a buffet on Sunday) and dinner is from 19:00 to 22:30 (Monday to Saturday).