Dinner at The Reserve Brasserie
A beautiful restaurant complemented by delicious food and great service.
The home of the newish Reserve Brasserie is the old Standard Bank building at 130 Adderley Street, Cape Town. This impressive building definitely gives the restaurant the edge in terms of design. In keeping with its original incarnation as a financial institution, the building was erected on a grand scale, with the best materials lavished on the space (wood panelling, marble), all of which gives a sense of opulence. Of course, in a restaurant, you're looking for a cosy atmosphere, so the lofty ceilings, lovely as they are, present something of a problem. But fashion and interior designer Gavin Rajah has more than met the challenge. He has succeeded in keeping the beautiful features like the cold marble intact, while creating a warm atmosphere. The lighting is subdued, with beautiful chandeliers, candlelight and twinkly little lights providing a soft glow, but it becomes quite dramatic at the bar. As for those high ceilings, the vertical space is partially broken by greenery, but the lovely detailing of the ceiling isn’t obscured. Seating is plush – and comfortable. The background music complemented the ambience beautifully and wasn’t too loud to compete with our conversation. Oh, don’t miss a ride in the charming original lift.
Now for the food! The kitchen is headed by chef Seelan Sundoo, who spent many years at La Perla in Sea Point and, more recently, a couple of years at the Grand Café. Take a look at the menu. It offered so many tantalising options that I found it tricky to narrow down my order. The waitress provided thoughtful, considered advice and great service (attentive without unnecessary interruptions) from start to finish.
Our choices of mains were the fillet with truffle mayo and pommes frites, and farmed kob, baked on a bed of fennel (also with pommes frites). The dishes were well presented, and absolutely delicious. I can't think when last I was so satisfied with my steak – succulent, flavourful and tender. My dinner date tends to be fussy about his fish; I'm always a bit nervous when he orders it as he's usually disappointed with the way it has been cooked (inevitably overdone). But not this time, I'm happy to say! Some beautiful wines are listed, though I would have been grateful to have a few more of the less expensive options.