Among the myriad of accommodation establishments on the Atlantic Seaboard, the Protea Hotel President offers ocean views which are simply stunning, overlooking Queens Beach (also a local surf spot) in Bantry Bay. It now also boasts a brand new Executive Chef, Norman Heath, who has revamped the entire menu focusing on local produce, uniquely South African dishes with a gourmet twist (suchs as rooibos-smoked salmon with honey mustard hollandaise) and beautifully cooked classic cuts of meat that will leave steak-lovers grinning from ear to ear.
We were invited to dinner to try some of the new dishes. The Chef presented a loosely themed menu, each dish having an element of 'smoke' to them, with ingredients such as smoked mozzarella, smoked salmon, smoked paprika... and so on.
Intuitively he knew it would be hard for us to choose between the dishes on offer, so we were instead presented with four starters, four mains and four desserts (in miniature form):
Starters (above, from left)
-Smoked mozzarella, watercress, red grape and lavender dressing with crisp carrot and parsnip chips
-Chickpea puree, smoked paprika, blackened eggplant, crisp carrot chards, slow roasted cherry tomato, herb salad
-Rooibos tea smoked Norwegian salmon honey mustard hollandaise, mixed baby leaves, avocado and cucumber lemon salsa
-Dukha and prickly pear marinated ostrich carpaccio goats cheese sugar ball, fig puree and micro salad
|from left: chickpea burger and vanilla smoked salmon|
|from left: beef fillet and pork fillet|
-Vanilla poached Norwegian salmon spinach and white misso salad
-Chickpea “burger” served on a base of garlic roasted brown mushroom, rocket, watercress and tomato chutney
-Agave marinated lean pork fillet, warm curried lentils, pan fried vegetables with a red pepper and olive oil puree
-Beef Fillet baby carrots coated in butterscotch sauce, pea and potato mash and thyme jus
Desserts (above from right)
-Bitter chocolate mousse with toasted almond and orange biscotti
-Liquorice, caramel & hazelnut parfait toasted hazelnut tuille, liquorice paste and praline
-Red wine poached baby pears filled with white chocolate and blue cheese mousse, walnut crumble
-Soy and strawberry panna cotta, agave and pecan praline
If I had to choose my favourite dishes from each course and them for dinner tonight, it would be the:
chickpea and eggplant, the vanilla peached salmon and the poached baby pears with blue cheese chocolate mousse.
But then again, I could just as easily have the rooibos smoked salmon, followed by the beef fillet and the bitter chocolate mousse.... or the ostrich carpaccio... Basically I could have easily had any of the starters as mains, they were so good!
I'll have to go back and treat my husband to dinner there soon.
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