Friday, October 09, 2020

Restaurant Month lunch at Fyn

Restaurant Week has evolved into Restaurant Month as so many good restaurants join. When Lynne checked out the Cape Town entries, she was excited to see Fyn on the list. Opened in 2018 by Chef Peter Tempelhoff - you might know him from the Cellars Hohenort in Constantia - it has garnered many good reviews and recently an international award. We have been keen to go, so she immediately made a booking. They were running a very good special. We arrived on a blustery day and, as John drove into the car park across the way, the concierge Albert told Lynne that they can arrange free parking for guests there. He then chased John’s car and arranged everything. What service. We knew then that this was going to be a special day

The almost disguised entrance in Parliament Street reminded Lynne very much of finding Joe Allen's in London, a restaurant in the 70's/80's, totally anonymous, it had no signage at all and you had to be in the loop to find it and book. Used by actors, director, producers and advertising people it served great American food and had a marvellous atmosphere. Fyn does have signage outside, but it does have that air of exclusivity and mystery. This is the door to the restaurant on the building’s top floor
Inside the restaurant, the design is very modern and slightly industrial. They built it on the top of an existing building and the glass windows give lots of light and views of the city. We really liked the new booths that safely separate you from others, but you still get the feel of the restaurant design. The long bench seats in front of the windows are separated by good square bolsters
There is a very good bar
We had booked for 12.30 and the restaurant slowly filled up for lunch
The kitchen is open and they have a fantastic selection of different crockery on display
A table for six
There is a small mezzanine area
And you can dine at the counter, which we saw another wine writer do. His review added to our decision to come
Those amazing rustic plates and bowls
Masked chefs doing the prep
And the fabulous mobile of hanging wood disks and lights which fills the void of the huge ceiling space so well
While we took in the atmosphere, we studied the special Restaurant Week menu, which is very good value and has very good choices. We were told it may change half way through the month. We were asked if we wanted two or three courses and we replied, "could we please decide later?". However, if you want the cheese soufflé, you have to decide at the start, so we chose the three courses. Please note: You do have to pay a deposit on Dineplan when you book, to secure the booking. More and more fine dining restaurants are doing this to discourage the habit of people booking three or four restaurants, choosing one at the last minute and just not arriving at the others. Despicable behaviour
If you are ordering from the main menu, you use your phone to scan the menu 
A good Covid precaution. Our paper menu was ours to keep
You can scan the menu from this photograph
Simple and clean table decoration, a bonsai spekboom, chopsticks on metal branches, a stone place card holder and hand sanitiser. Cutlery, if needed for the dish, is provided fresh for each course. The assistant restaurant manager Lester Riffel recognised us and we were kindly given complimentary glasses of Bon Courage Jacques Bruére Cuvée Rosé Brut, which just won a Michelangelo Trophy. Full of raspberries and cream, with lovely crisp and zingy freshness and some maturity. A great start. And finding old friends from the wine and restaurant industry seated at the next table, was another bonus
And the fabulous mobile of hanging wood disks and lights which fills the void of the huge ceiling space so well
The second snack is the bread course. Both came warm. A spelt roll, a little dense and dry, might have gone well with the soup. And, for us, a too tiny, moist cheese and corn muffin which we would like to encourage Chef to copyright, enlarge and sell in large numbers. If not, Lynne would love the recipe. This could become something diners demand in future, it is so good. Accompanied by a rocher of allium chive butter
We have to confess that John is not a fan of tofu in any form
The next 'snack' was a small bowl of Blonde Miso soup that changed his mind
The home made tofu was like small pieces of savoury pannacotta, soft and melting in the warm soup. The bowl has three kinds of salty seaweed including green sea lettuce, wakame, and kombu, tiny white enoki mushrooms in Lynne’s - left out of John's because of his allergy - spring onion and elderflowers
The blonde miso soup is then poured at the table and has a lovely comforting aroma and taste; it was also slightly smoky which added another good dimension to this excellent dish. We asked what it was and it is Katsuyobushi,  dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna flakes. It seems that Chef Peter's trip to Japan has added a further influence to his excellent cooking. We could eat this regularly and Lynne is now looking for blonde miso, we have the red already. Miso soup is part of our diet
The tofu begins to dissolve
A feast in a bowl
We both chose the same starter and again it is Japanese. No complaints from us, we love this style of food. A game fish Tataki which this time was seared yellowtail, topped with a sprout, on a bed of Ishikawa rice, resting on a sheet of nori. Between the fish and the rice was some chopped Cape wild rock oyster and on the side an Ulva (sea lettuce seaweed) emulsion and essence of Shoyu, Japanese soy sauce. The rice held together on the chopsticks and was nicely flavoured. The fish sea fresh. We loved this dish
Lynne’s main course choice was the charred Iberico pork with crisp caramelised edges, and an aroma that wafted off the dish and took us back to Spain. Served with a sticky Tonkotsu, almost barbecue sauce with lots of umami notes, nicely complex. Ponzu braised onion, not enough of the glorious celeriac miso purée, topped with squares of celeriac, a twirl of deep fried pork crackling and presented on a bed of wilted bok choy. John loves pork, but this would have been too fatty for him. It is a very good fusion dish
John chose the Crispy Hake Sando which is slices of very soft hake, sandwiched between crisp slices of compressed and toasted brioche, so it rather resembles an ice cream sandwich! On the separate plate are a seared scallop, steamed and raw new season broad beans, artichoke, and samphire in a sake mussel sauce. Very good flavours and textures to counterpoint the soft fish, which came with a slice of seared lemon
You get a glass of wine with the menu and a choice of a Sauvignon Blanc from Neil Ellis, a typical warm country Sauvignon with a floral, slightly reductive nose, classic green gooseberry and greengage plum flavours, good acidity and a little fizz on the end. The red is a Neil Ellis Grenache with real wildness and marzipan and dark black cherry berry fruits, dark wood and length on the end. Age will calm this wine a bit
After a rest, it was time to tackle the dessert end of the meal
John had the warm twice baked soufflé made with Gruyère and Huguenot cheeses and Lynne suffered lots of envy. Next time
Soft and light as air and very full of flavour
They add a barley & parmesan sauce
and top with grated parmesan
We were so switching roles this time. Lynne eats cake about twice a year but felt we had to try this dessert and she was not at all disappointed. Layers of set coconut cream jelly, very light chocolate sponge, soft ganache and a base of crisp chocolate cracknel feuilletine. Light as air, very rich and unctuous chocolate and not too much of a challenge for she who dose not have much of a sweet tooth. Accompanied by pear cubes, pear gel, blueberries and crème coconut. It does come with a coffee pouring sauce but she loathes anything made with coffee, other than coffee, so passed on that. She did taste a smidgen on a spoonful of cake but it is not for me. You will love it; customers do love the sauce. Just her quirk. Someone else always gets the coffee chocolates in the box
Another special treat from Lester to go with our last courses. A tiny glass of Thelema Noble Late Harvest 2015 Semillon, perfumed with elderflowers, which has lovely crispness and elegance balancing the sweetness. And a glass of Lammershoek straw wine, like a good rich red port. Both excellent with the desserts. We shared and so enjoyed them
And a final touch, an amuse bouche of sticky caramel nut toffee. Yum
We went home extremely happy, as will you
The Lammershoek Straw wine
The view of Kloof Nek
And the mountain, swathed in cloud
Our bill. Thank you again, all at Fyn. A very fine meal and experience

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