Arnold's Restaurant, Cape Town 10-2019

South Africa is known for braai and meat particularly. One of the things I longed for but never had the opportunity to during the safari trip to Kenya and Tanzania in 2013 was trying game meats. They just weren't offered at the places we went.

There's a few places offering such things in Cape Town - Arnold's, Mama Africa, Karibu, Mama Africa, Gold, Marco's seem to be the names I found online.

Arnold's was extremely close to our accommodation off Kloof Street and so the easy choice for the first night dinner.

- Ostrich goulash soup (slow cooked ostrich, carrots, peppers) R55 - too heavy on the salt, but meaty and flavoursome. It wasn't the most tender meat, but otherwise couldn't be distinguished from beef;
- West Coast mussels (creamy garlic & white wine sauce) R65 - a waste of time. Tiny mussels that looked old and had no flavour and a soft mushy texture. The sauce also needed a good dose of salt and pepper;
- South African Game Platter R249 - grilled warthog ribs (smoked, flame grilled, lightly basted) were a lean meaty version of pork ribs cooked with a sweetened barbecue sauce similar to a ham glaze; crocodile tagine (mild Moroccan style sweet & sour curry-based) were tender pieces of meat, moreso than I've had from crocodile previously with earthy spices; kudu loin (grilled, rolled in cumin & salt) is a type of antelope with the medium-rare meat grainy but a mild game/beef-type flavour; ostrich steak was a very tender piece of meat with a very mild flavour to it, similar to beef eye fillet with the grilled and green peppercorn flavour coming through.

The best part of the meal was easily the unexpectedly tender ostrich steak. Although not the strongest in flavour, it tasted nice and was a dining revelation.

Arnolds Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Unframed Ice Cream, Cape Town 10-2019

After late-lunching at Hudsons The Burger Joint, a short walk away is Unframed. The open front store with the convenient engraved seating outside in the sun provides a perfect atmosphere to people watch, get asked for money, and listen to the hiphop blasting from the store.

There are a few usual flavours like salted caramel, vanilla but no nut ones sadly. There are also some very unusual ones like lime lemon basil (tastes like a granita) and the two I tried at R38 for a one scoop cone - strawberry coconut (quite sweet with only the tiniest bit of coconut) and turmeric latte (a fluoro yellow offering with a little bit of sweet, a lot of turmeric, and how the latte form does taste). I didn't like the strawberry but I did so the turmeric, although the flavour got a bit much in the end. Maybe it's more the colour and novelty factor.

These vegan ones were texturally quite slick and gummy. Not sure how they did it, but it was ok. Different.

If I went back it would be for a non-vegan one.

Addon 10-2019

I found by chance Unframed at the V&A food market. This time they had flavours that appealed to me more, including a potent vegan matcha and a perfectly coloured and reasonably strong flavoured bronte "just pistachio". A couple of ice crystals were present but that's nitpicking. These were really excellent in flavour and texture otherwise.

Unframed Ice Cream Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Hudsons The Burger Joint, Cape Town 10-2019

Wandering down Kloof Street looking for a late 4pm lunch meant being followed by young males constantly asking for money or food. It didn't seem threatening at all, just repetitively one after the other. It's definitely a sad state to see in amongst the more affluent (mostly locals I think from the accents) eating at the nicely urbanised places lining the streets - burgers, NYC pizza, gelato, vegan etc.

Eventually we settled on the burger place with it's very cool funky disco classics (some of them modernised), football on TV, and all-round happy vibes.

They offer 180g or 250g patties. 250g is rather large sounding so went for the smaller one. Interestingly their Beyond Meat patty (ie. vegan) is much more expensive to choose.

- The Rockafella (free range beef patty, Swiss cheese, pulled pork, grilled pineapple, fried egg) R99 - an excellent combination of flavours from the charred beef, the tangy warm pineapple and the slightly sweet pork. Although advertised as medium-rare, the beef was much closer to medium/medium-well sadly. It had also been shaped lopsided so one end was much thicker. It was nice with more grill flavour than beef per se;
- Skin-on fries R27 - nice soft texture on the inside, could have been much crisper on the outside. Decent with the homemade peri peri sauce on the table;
- The Influencer (Cajun crumbed schnitzel, rocket, vegan mayo, vegan mozzarella, tomato, grilled pineapple, pickled red cabbage, house pickles) R88 - I think the schnitzel was a very very thin seitan and the width did mean the flavour was mostly fried batter (which was ok). Could have used much more spicing in it I think;
- Avo fries with sweet chilli sauce R45 - avocado thick wedges crumbed and deepfried. A rich taste and texture with the perfect amount of ripeness to be soft and have some flavour, and not too soft to liquify and fall apart. Excellent.

Definitely not the best burger I've had and would not expect it to be the best around. Maybe with the thicker patty and cooked better it would be elevated much higher. If I did return, there would definitely be avo fries on the side though.

Hudsons The Burger Joint Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Norma, London 09-2019

Another new opening in London and this one representing the food of Sicily. It's on my Mediterranean to-do list, but up until that point I'll have to settle for this gourmet restaurant. I was lucky enough to be there for the soft opening, otherwise the prices are definitely on the high side. And the cocktails were around the £12-14 mark to match. Oh well.

I perused the menu and was thrilled to come across raw red prawns. Could they be as good as the remarkable red prawn from Denia? ( I would have to find out.

- Red prawns, rosemary, orange £15 - the highlight of the meal was a soft creamy thing with strong brains in the head. Perfect and excellent;
- Cherrystone clam, saffron, shallot pickle £4ea - they had some huge clams on view but we were served moderate sized ones. These were quite strong (a lot of the liquid had been drained I think) and there was a bit of chew to them. Good but not as much as the ones at Richard Haward in Borough;
- West Mersea oyster, salted capers, fennel oil £4.5ea - this time I preferred the oyster to clam topped with some capers that accentuated the flavour rather than to over-salinise it;
- Saffron arancini, wild mushrooms, parmesan £11 - a perfectly cooked crisp golden sphere of mushroom goodness;
- Panfried violet artichokes, pine nut puree £10 - the artichokes were soft and presented almost like lamb cutlets. The slight char was nice. The puree was ok although I had to look at the menu to see what the base was (pine nut flavour wasn't that strong);
- Norma aubergine parmigiana £18 - a decent serve of very lightly seasoned but very flavoursome grilled vegetables and topped with cheese and on a bechamel (or similar) sauce. Like a lasagna almost;
- Rose veal chop, black cabbage with lemon and anchovy marsala sauce £31 - cooked to a nice medium-rare pink, the meat was reasonably soft and tender and full of flavour and juice. The cavolo nero had been a bit overwilted and too salty though;
- Slow-cooked cherries, almond milk pannacotta, cherry sorbet £8 - refreshing with an excellent pannacotta for taste and texture;
- Norma house sundae (honey gelato, orange flower water, slow cooked figs, ricotta, raisins) £8 - a mix of textures and flavours which was alright, but a bit confused I thought.

The prawns lived up to my hopes. The other things accompanied well. It would be expensive to go back. I'll have to consider.