Food, glorious food!
Last night (Thursday); I was invited to my second Zomato Meet Up for Food Bloggers held at Eighty88Ate – the restaurant at The Cape Hollow Boutique Hotel which juuuuuust so happens to be my neighbour. And you know what they say; love thy neighbour.
Zomato is an incredible company to be partnered with – starting out in India and expanding globally at an exponential rate. The Cape Town team has also grown in leaps and bounds in the last few months and it is really awesome to be a part of their extended family. 2015 is going to be a big year for Zomato, already launching their partnership with Uber – a worldwide campaign that launched in February, with the initial rollout happening simultaneously in London, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. 2015 is also going to be a big year for me, personally, and for the blog so WOOP.
But back to the event…
10 people, including 2 Zomato reps, is the perfect number for an intimate dinner that still allows you to meet new people and make new foodie friends. Plus it is exclusive enough that you feel special, and everybody loves to feel special.
We met at the bar at Eighty88Ate – a restaurant that has just seen a complete makeover thanks to the beautiful renovations at the hotel. Immediately served champagne – that’s 10 points right there, Zomato – all the bloggers introduced each other, although most of us had an idea of who was who thanks to the strange world of social media and the Internet.
Once we were seated at “the perfect table for 10″, head chef Sunet introduced the food & wine pairing menu, going through each dish and the combination of flavours; as well as explaining what Moskonfeit is – ‘when the farmer has pressed the grapes and made the wine, he has leftover skins that he throws away. Then, when he isn’t looking, his wife collects the residual grapes and makes jam with them. I have used that jam instead of the usual apricot jam in your bobotie parcels. It’s very Cape Town”.
So, first course.
Three small, but perfectly portioned starters: Oysters with Pineapple and Red Onion Salsa, Parmesan-Crusted Asparagus Crisps with Roasted Garlic Aioli and Beef Carpaccio Canapés; each served with a complimentary wine pairing.
Now let me just express my situation here: I have never had an oyster. I have never wanted to have an oyster. Oysters creep me out.
I ate an oyster. The foodie/blogger pressure is REAL and everyone was reveling in how great the oysters were and I was just sitting their, shaking in my Zara heels. Luckily, another girl was also an Oyster virgin (so was Dave, our token guy, but he just slurped the slimy thing without any fuss so I am not counting his experience as valid here). So, with much pep talk, I did it. I had a frikkin oyster. It was slimy and chewy and gross but I did it and that’s done. Goodbye.
Anyway, the starters were all delicious (although the asparagus could have been hotter, as my adorable PE friend, Jenna Manthe, pointed out). But all-in-all, a great start to the evening and really beautifully displayed. Oh, another thing is that I don’t drink red wine (like, ever) and last night I had THREE GLASSES. All different and all, I must admit, quite delicious. Not too strong or too bold, or two ‘red-winey’, but smooth and delicate and lovely when sipped after their corresponding dishes.
So now I eat oysters and drink red wine. Good Lord, I’m fancy.
Drinks and conversation both flowing; the first of the second course plates was served: Moskonfeit Bobotie Phyllo Pockets and another red wine. Now let me tell you something; this is not jou ouma se bobotie wat jy’t op die plaas as a kinder geeet. This is gourmet bobotie that is presented below a tower of crystalized noodles and tastes even better than jou ouma s’n. YES I SAID IT. Eighty88Ate beats granny. Flippin delicious, full of flavour and all wrapped in a crisp, crunchy phyllo pastry pocket. DELISHSTIXX.
Then, a small palate cleanser that tasted like the birth child of a lemon and a pineapple (I mean that in the best way) cleared our taste buds in preparation for the next dish: Braised Lamb Shank in Red Wine Sauce on Garlic Cauliflower Mash (#banting). I am not usually a fan of lamb, and especially lamb shank. Anything on the bone freaks me out and I do my utmost to avoid it. Now obviously I couldn’t refuse the food and, as I have mentioned, being at a table with foodies changes things and makes you think you can/should try new things (hence my third glass of red by this point). It is probably a good thing though, to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who appreciate food as much as you do but may do so in a different way or over alternative flavours that makes you sit up and think “hey, it can’t be that bad”. The lamb was actually delicious, although I still struggled with the sinewy texture and didn’t clear my plate like the rest. The cauliflower mash was also super tasty and I LOVED the bowl the dish came in. Classic.
And then dessert. OMFG. A trio of desserts – something I really dig because then you get to enjoy multiple tastes and textures without getting too much of one type. This is actually one of my favourite ways of eating in general, but is particularly conducive to dessert when there are rich, indulgent flavours that you can get over quite quickly (I don’t have a sweet tooth – I prefer salty, savoury flavours. Give me the lime green Pringles over chocolate any day).
Rose Terrine (my number one choice), Chocolate Brownie in a mini-cup of Chocolate Ganache and Sparkling Wine Jelly. The latter literally exploded in your mouth and fizzed and popped and was like a firework on your tongue. All accompanied with a dessert wine that was juuuust too sweet for me.
I think it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that I was extremely full and EXTREMELY SATISFIED. Looking at the menu at first, I was a little nervous as to what I would actually enjoy eating and drinking because so much of it is not what I usually go for. But that is what these foodie meet ups and Zomato is all about – exposing you to new foods and flavours and encouraging something a little extra, a little unexpected.
The evening was a total success and a lot of fun, and I also got to bust out my brand new Canon 1200D so YIPPEE HOORAY.
Thanks again to Zomato, and especially Jenny Coulson for the invite, and for creating an absolutely awesome experience.
Until next time xxx