Friday, December 23, 2011

C2S Goes Vegan...with a tasting menu!

I am happy to admit (without guilt) that I am a meat lover. I love my meat! The contemplation of forgoing tender sweet white meats and earthy, rustic, juicy red meats for the rest of my life is unfeasible to my palate. That is not to say that I don't like my vegetables, I love them, but ask me to choose between them, aaah...I cannot!

So it was quite a surprise to me when I was doing some dinner research and checking out a particular restaurant's menu where I find myself being more intrigued and excited over its Vegan Tasting Menu. This is not even vegetarian, it is Vegan! I found myself going "boring" when browsing the a la carte options and its standard tasting menu. Who would have thought!

So it was to be my first vegan tasting menu experience and it was in Cape Town.

We started with a platter of breads and dips.

Salad of raw, pickled and roasted winter vegetables, toasted pine nuts and rosemary agave vinaigrette

It was like a vibrant colourful painting and who would have thought of using broccoli flowers as a decoration. I really like the trio method of vegetables being served as each produces a different flavour and texture. The pine nuts just added that extra elevation and I was thoroughly enjoying this.

Sesame roasted shiitake mushrooms, rooibos and orange glazed butternut, sesame seed butter and bokchoy

I was less enamoured by the second course as the bok choy just doesn't seem to harmonise with the shiitake mushrooms and butternut. Each component were too individualistic.

Sweet potato lasagna, espresso balsamic reduction

The sweet potato lasagna was truly an eye opener. I was expecting thick doughy pasta sheets but what I got were see-through thin slices of pasta sheets that was just so light and delicate which went really well with the sweet-rich depth of the sweet potatoes. The addition of the espresso balsamic reduction was just sublime.

Winter melon and lime sorbet

What I discover with a Vegan Tasting Menu is that my tummy did not feel heavy and while a palate cleanser in the form of winter melon and lime sorbet was warmly accepted, you don't really need it as much.

Lemon-scented spiced quinoa pilau, roasted macadamia nuts, green apple and ginger

See the green apples perched like a fan on the side, they were absolutely delicious. Crunchy, tart, acidic and sweet all at the same time. I have never had green apples like that before. Such a shame that there were only two slices, I could and would have eaten an entire bowl of it. They were the clear stand-outs in this lemon-scented spiced quinoa pilau.

Salted caramel tartlet with caramelized banana and pecan nut brittle

I go crazy with salted caramel things and the salted caramel tartlet was a nice finish to conclude the tasting menu. It was what tipped me over and filled me up.

I was wonderfully surprised with the creativity of the vegan tasting menu and it still filled me up and left me feeling satisfied even without the presence of meat. I really did enjoy this and at R350, a worthy consideration.

Signal Restaurant, Cape Grace Hotel, Cape Town Waterfront, South Africa


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