Thursday, August 01, 2019

Dinner at the Mount Nelson's Lord Nelson restaurant

An invitation from Gaby Palmer Bolton, Area Public Relations Manager, Southern Africa of The Belmond Group to the Mount Nelson Hotel to sample their winter offering. The press release said: "Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town, revives a piece of culinary history and gourmet tradition at its 120-year old Lord Nelson Restaurant; with the introduction of bold classic dishes and the mid-17th century French art of ‘guéridon’ or table side service. Guests are greeted by a soothing soundtrack, courtesy of resident pianist, Henry Dike, before being seated at crisp white linen tables cocooned by elegant wood panelling; where classics such as Beef Wellington are given their final flourishes from wooden handcrafted trolleys and Baked Alaska is flambéed at the table"

We arrived to meet Gaby for a pre-dinner drink in the bar and could admire the famous Mount Nelson tea table,
groaning with cakes and pastries. Savouries are brought to your table and there is a selection of good teas
We each went to England in 1967 on one of these voyages, although then it did cost a little bit more
Just not in the same month, so it took us nearly 30 years to meet
John went to study photography and Lynne to work and live in London for 27 years
Stalking the halls are marvellous beaded animals
And historic paintings of the Union-Castle Line. The Mount Nelson property was purchased by shipping magnate Sir Donald Currie, owner of the Union-Castle shipping line, in 1890. He aimed to build a hotel in Cape Town as elegant as those in London, to cater exclusively for the Union-Castle Line’s First Class passengers. The Mount Nelson Hotel opened on 6 March 1899. The first hotel in South Africa to offer hot and cold running water, it was described as being ‘even better than its London counterparts’
Thank you Wikipedia
The menu cover
We could choose from the page on the left, the Tableside menu
While we were waiting for the first course, we were served warm bread with butter or a whipped lardo
Recommended by the Maître D, Paulo Luzio, we enjoyed a glass each of this 2017 Lieben Chardonnay with our dinner
It is a new label for us and we could not find it in Platter. It is made by Alwyn Liebenberg from Paarl
Quite perfumed on the nose with vanilla wood, crisp limes and lemons and ends in lots of toasted wood
Some temptation from the chef in the guise of tiny canapés: chick pea falafel and Broccoli mousse pyramids with crisp hats on
Lynne chose the very retro Prawn Cocktail and loved the updated presentation in a bowl rather than a glass
Lots of large, plumptious Norwegian pink prawns had been sliced down the middle;
the Marie Rose sauce was nicely garlicky, served on avocado with a small zingy salad of mixed leaves and herbs
John went for the classic Partridge and pistachio Terrine, served with brioche slices and a pear and mustard sauce,
a port jelly, cayenne pepper, and a pear compote
Beautiful flower arrangements grouped on a central table
A glass of wine in a gracious fine dining atmosphere, just what we like. Maître D, Paulo, although young, has had years of experience on cruise liners and in hotels. He is very urbane and friendly, speaks several languages and tells us that he is not a sommelier but a wino! He suggested the wines which went very well with the food
We really liked these murals which look like porcelain panels
Dinner arrives at our table side
We chose the Rack of Lamb as our shared main course, rather than the Beef Wellington or the Crown Roasted Chicken,
both of which are also served at the table
which went so well with this lovely Groote Post Pinot Noir, delicate with incense wood and soft raspberry fruit on the nose;
it is a classic raspberry and gentle wood combination, fruity and complex with dark licorice wood notes on the end
Herb crusted rack of lamb, with lightly roasted potatoes, al dente green beans and an assortment of different coloured carrots
Expertly carved by Paulo
Perfectly pink lamb, just the way we ordered it, and served with a good lamb demi glace sauce
A side dish of Cauliflower Mornay and two relishes accompanied the lamb
A long table had been set for a large group
and resident Pianist Henry Dike played a selection of well known songs and show tunes
You can even ask him to play Misty for you
The large group arrived and was seated at the long table
Dessert was another old fashioned but delicious classic
Baked Alaska - ice cream on a bed of cake, covered in an Italian meringue
We had eaten more than enough; the portions are generous, but we were persuaded to share this
Flamed at the table
and it disappeared very quickly
A double espresso for John made the evening complete
The hallway outside the restaurant has many portraits and caricatures of famous people who visited the Mount Nelson in its early days. We liked this one of Sir David Graaff Bt. A prominent member of the Cape business and political fraternity in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, he was the scion of the Graaff family who own De Grendel wine estate
All content ©  John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

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