ON19 is on the 19th floor (believe it or not) of The Westin in Cape Town’s city centre. The view is ridiculous. And as you’ll soon see, the food is too…
Red Thai Duck Broth // 75
I am a big fan of ramen. It’s got that comforting thing going on, but is still healthy, and this one didn’t disappoint. Perfectly cooked egg noodles with shitake mushrooms, spring onion, crunchy Chinese cabbage, and tender pulled duck in a soya based broth. It had a light spice to it that didn’t overwhelm the gentle flavours.
Prawn Dumplings // 70
These were part of the “small plate” section, so when Marvin ordered these, I was pretty sure that his portion would be itty bitty. Internally I was lolling (yes, I just said lolling) at how jealous he’d be of my dish. But alas, I was wrong, which was actually great because it meant more of his for me to taste. Three big prawn dumplings were crisp on the outside, but light, fluffy and juicy on the inside. The minced prawn mixture was perfectly seasoned, but still tasted like the prawns that they should, and not an overpowering mix of ginger and spring onion that I’ve had elsewhere. These were served with a sweet-savoury curry sorbet and thinly sliced cucumber; an amazing combo of textures, flavours and temperatures.
Wagyu Beef Burger // 160
After a recent trip to New York, I realised that Americans really do make the best burgers ever. But this one, damn, it’s up there. With Wagyu beef you barely need any seasoning as the meat is utter perfection. This juicy burger patty was gently seasoned, so the Wagyu did all the work. It was then topped with turkey bacon, sharp mature chedder, which cut the fattiness of the beef, homemade tomato sauce, giant onion rings that had a perfect onion to batter ratio, and crisp potato skins. The only let down here was the the potato skins were crispy, but raw on the inside.
Singaporean Fish and Prawn Curry // 180
This dish blew my socks off. Right now I am struggling not to get in my car, drive to the restaurant and have it for lunch. I don’t normally like fish curry, so ordering this was a risk, but I’m going to go out and say it: this was probably one of my favourite dishes of 2015. I love hot food so I asked if the chef could add extra oomph for me – and he nailed it.
The kicker was that they cook the fish and then pour over the spicy tomato-based curry sauce. This means the the fish remains firm and meaty, instead of falling apart. I loved how the giant prawn was served as a sort of garnish to the dish. The curry was served with a variety of sambals and sides, and if ya need more (as I obviously did), just ask for it. My only issue with my main, was that it finished. It was that good.
Create a Plate
ON19 do dessert a little differently. They offer 5 mini-desserts – eskimo pie, chocolate pud, dacquoise, milk tart brulee, and apple tarte fin – and you create a platter. One = R35. Two = 60. Three = 90.
The eskimo pie was made with two cherry macarons, filled with blueberry cheesecake and a warm Romanoff sauce that arrived in a syringe, waiting for you to squeeze into the pie itself. It was a tough one to eat, but the flavour combos were gorgeous. The milk tart brulee was a delight – the perfect South African dessert that was topped with sugar and caramalised like a brulee. I loved these two dishes coming together as one. And finally, the chocolate pud was warm and decadent, served with salted caramel ice cream (yeah buddy) and a crunchy honeycomb crumble.
I’d never let a view change my feelings on a restaurant, because a view doth not a delicious meal make. But hey, eating incredible food whilst gazing out onto Cape Town’s entire city centre, is certainly not a bad time. I was really impressed by the sizable portions, as fine dining can leave you hungry at the end of the night. On19 is a comfortable balance of laid back, yet elegant dining, that lacks pretension. The staff are chilled out, but on the ball. You never feel like they’re peering over your shoulder to see when they can swoop in and do something, yet swoop they do just at the right time. A wonderful night at a wonderful restaurant – you’ll see me again.