Friday, October 21, 2016

Dinner at The Alphen's new Blanko restaurant

You may, like us, have been to the Alphen restaurants in Constantia many times over the years under their different guises, there have been several over the years. The Five Rooms was the name of the previous restaurant in this historic building till September, now it has begun a new life as Blanko (an Esperanto word we are told). It is part of the group owned and run by restaurateur Paul Kovensky . He has initiated a new change: the Five Rooms have gone and Blanko has opened. The house has been transformed from historic into a modern all white, leather and glass space with lots of modern art from the Goodman Gallery. Gone are the antiques and the Cloete family art collection. We were invited to experience the place and the food. Group Head Chef, Amber-May Deetlefs, delivers Italian style food
It's a beautiful old Cape Dutch house set in a werf (Dutch: the space around a farm homestead and outbuildings) which was founded in the late 17th Century
This photograph of the voorkamer was taken before the renovations
The doors, windows, roof beams are all original features. This was the small lounge in the large foyer
Several rooms run off this main entrance room; they now house the tables chairs and banquettes of the restaurant.  We had drinks in this back section. On the right hand side is an original antique Cape Dutch Armoire
Inside the restaurant. We ate in this room. All the chairs and sofas are covered in leather and the tables have white Corian surfaces
One of the other rooms. Lots of large modern pictures fill the white walls
The revamped bar in the entrance foyer
Dining outside on the terrace. Too chilly the night we visited but they do have heaters; and umbrellas for sunny warm days
It's a large terrace in front of the house
Two rolls and butter to start the meal. The lighting is very dim and it is turned down as the evening progresses, making it rather difficult to see the food. Perhaps they don't know that you also eat with your eyes? Romantic, perhaps, but we like to see what we are eating. We had a small led torch in our camera bag and used it to read the menu and to take the photographs
Lynne's starter of chargrilled polpetti with lemon and garlic and a little chilli. A great dish, you could taste the smoke of the fire and the baby squid was very tender. She had this with a glass of Springfield Life From Stone Sauvignon Blanc; perfect.
John had the asparagus with ricotta. Three flame seared spears, some asparagus puree, green olive oil and those two rounds of rather hard flavourless cheese. John also had a glass of the Life From Stone, which goes so well with asparagus.
Lynne chose Escalopes of veal which came sandwiched with ham, sage, new potato slices, a good jus and a tart lemon puree. The two slices of veal had not been batted out so was a little thick. The flavours were good. She had a glass of Rudera Robusto Chenin blanc with this course.
John ordered the slow wine braised lamb shank, It had a good glaze. He had a glass of Boekenhoutskloof Chocolate Block. You can also order pizza or pasta
The sides are all extra. We ordered a dish of the seasonal vegetables and they were a good surprise, nice and al dente and fresh.
Only John could manage a dessert. This is the very rich Chocolate and salted caramel torte with hazelnuts, burnt crumbs and creamy ricotta
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

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