La Mouette 5 Course Spring Tasting Menu Special Review
Okaaay, remind me how I do this again? During the last 73 years of lockdown, I haven’t ventured out to do many reviews. But one does not simply turn down an invitation to review the La Mouette Course Spring Tasting Menu Special. So I packed up my sanitiser, donned my most fancy mask, and off we went.
Chef Neill Anthony has taken over the kitchen of one of my forever favourite restaurants, producing the same exceptional quality, with a Neill-style imaginative spin. At R350pp for this 5 course tasting menu, or R650 with the wine pairing, it makes a true fine dining experience more attainable for many.
La Mouette Course Spring Tasting Menu Special Review
Chicken Liver Parfait
I don’t eat meat, so I didn’t taste this very pretty dish myself. But The Husband tells me that it was incredibly rich and creamy, without that heavy liver flavour or aftertaste. The crunchy cornetto cone and the sweet fig puree meant there was texture and balance. If you haven’t tried liver before or if it isn’t usually your favourite, give it a go!
Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese
What I certainly DO eat is Mac ‘n Cheese. And even more so when there’s truffle involved. These little orbs of goodness had a golden crust and were topped with a wholegrain mustard sauce and oodles of cheese. My only issue with them is that I could have eaten 75 more.
Colmant Brut Reserve (Western Cape)
Both canapes were served with this fruity, dry bubbly. It was the perfect partner to these rich and decadent dishes. And who doesn’t love starting a meal with bubbles and snacks?
This dish was the epitome of balance. The perfect cubes of delicate yellowtail were almost (but not) overpowered by the flavours that surrounded and enhanced it. A fragrant fennel mousse, a peppery radish salad, an unexpected tom yum vinaigrette with fennel and coconut oil. It all came together to celebrate the slightly oily fish in a way that I’ve never experienced and am so glad that I did.
HPF ‘Bloos’ 2020 (Hemel-en-aarde Valley)
We’ll definitely be stocking up on this babe. The only South African Premium Rosé made from all five Bordeaux varietals. It’s fresh, it’s bright, it’s easy drinking. The perfect summer wine.
Fresh Spring asparagus
I am a big, big asparagus fan, so this clean and elegant starter really hit the spot for me. Served with wild garlic aioli, crispy tempura shallots, and pear and courgette flowers – the sweetness of the onions picked up the sweetness in the aioli. If you don’t like asparagus, pick one of the other options – that’s the joy of choices on a tasting menu.
La Bri 2019 (Franschhoek)
An oaky, but not too oaky, wine that played perfectly with that light, woody-earthy asparagus flavour. Mmm mmm mmmm.
Roasted Butternut Soup
“Is this what soup is supposed to be?” – The Husband.
As you might be able to deduce from the quote above, I will never be making soup again. Nothing will ever, EVER compare. I never thought that I would confidently say that a soup was the highlight of any meal, but this soup might have been the highlight of all my meals this year. Buttery and velvety, it was packed with parmesan cheese and topped with sweet caramelised Granny Smith Apples. It reminded me of a cheese board, but in soup form. I’d order this by the litre.
Rijk’s ‘Touch of Oak’ Chenin blanc 2017 (Tulbagh)
If our love affair with the soup itself wasn’t enough, we ordered a case of this wine online while we were sitting at the table. This fresh, zesty wine brought a lightness to our Liquid Cheeseboard ™ without overpowering it.
Golden, caramelised line fish topped with grapefruit and basil was served on a bed of pearl barley with baby marrow and parsley. I love, love, love barley and it’s not often that you find it on a menu. So I was thrilled to see this humble little grain getting some attention for a change. The dish was bright and fresh thanks to the grapefruit and all the herbs. It’s a light dish which I welcomed with open arms as course #4.
Strandveld White Blend 2017 (ELIM)
A smooth white wine that gave me citrus vibes (vibes being the technical term, of course) that picked up on the grapefruit on the fish.
I love pasta. I love making it, cooking it, eating it. Well-cooked pasta, fragrant rocket pesto, crunchy pine nuts – it ticked all the boxes. The third main course option is a slow-cooked lamb dish, so perhaps this was meant to be the most simple of the three choices, but for me, it was just a bit too simple compared to everything else.
Creation Pinot Noir 2019 (Walker Bay)
What wasn’t simple was this m a g n i f i c e n t wine. When the glass was poured, the waitron mentioned that this wine was her favourite, and I can see why. I got hints of clove and dried fruit, a great accompaniment to the pasta or any wintery (or summery, or springy, or autumny) dish. We’ll definitely be getting a bottle or two of this to enjoy at home.
Ooh, take me to the tropics, baby! Creamy coconut sorbet, crunchy coconut crumb, and tropical mango parfait was a winning combo. Not too sweet, rich or heavy, it was a wonderful end to the menu.
Bonus Round: Banoffe Pie
Banoffee? Banofee? Bannoffee? Who knows. Who cares. This dish came off of the a la carte menu and WOW are we glad that we gave it a whirl. My photo does not do it justice. Banana bread icecream. Brandy snaps. Caramel mousse. This was a bowl of pure indulgent happiness. Did I mention BANANA BREAD ICE CREAM?
Thelema Semillon Late Harvest 2015 (Stellenbosch)
This sweet dessert wine paired perfectly with the not-so-sweet Mango Parfait. I love a dessert wine, it feels so over-the-top and unnecessary, but in the very best way.
Over and above the thoughtful menu, that changes seasonally, there’s something else that brings La Mouette customers back again and again. The service. Every member of staff is flawless. They know and understand the menu. They have insight into why ingredients were chosen. They are passionate about the flavours and the pairings. They give you the perfect amount of attention without hovering. They pick up on the mood of a table and add to it. From the moment that you walk in until the moment you roll out the front door, you are made to feel like you are the most important person there.
A beautiful menu, impeccable service, a relaxed atmosphere, and excellent social distancing – La Mouette, you always get it right.
Directions to La Mouette
78 Regent Road
021 433 0856