last night i went to the best restaurant i have been to since being in cape town – and believe me being the ‘foodies’ that my husband & i are that is really saying something!

i had absolutely no idea where we were going – even once we had parked our car i had no idea where i was being taken to. hidden away in an obscure little courtyard close to the waterfront is a little boutique hotel – the queen victoria – that has recently opened (i think it has about 30 rooms) – it’s restaurant ‘dash’ being named after queen victoria’s dog (as opposed to anything to do with the kardashians!) is definitely my absolute favourite favourite now!

the entrance hall to the actual hotel is stunning – totally understated – yet still warm & inviting. one can’t help but notice the giant bonsai tree (is it possible to have a ‘giant’ bonsai tree????) that takes centre stage – apparently 30 years old & imported from china.

we headed straight to the glowing ultraviolet bar (reminded me of the de vigne bar at the mandeville hotel in marylebone) where we sat in fabulous cosy chairs by a stunning fireplace overlooked by a pelican & a gramophone. there we sipped on the most divine elderflower & grape martini’s – had it not been a tuesday night i quite possibly would have sat their sampling their entire martini cocktail list!

we were then escorted to our table in the restaurant – decor to compete with any of the top restaurants in the world – simply stunning! the artwork that adorns the walls is all done by a south african artist called ‘beezy baily’…. i will now be fantasising about owning one of his works – at R250,000 a painting it might be a while! the great thing about south african restaurants is that there is space to play with – you really feel like you can escape into your own little world even though you are surrounded by other patrons – unlike a lot of restaurants in europe where you feel like you may as well just introduce yourself to the next table & make friends as you are practically sitting on top of each other!!!

the food was beyond amazing – adventurous but not trying to be too clever for it’s own good. not being the most daring of patrons i do like to try a few ‘new’ things but not ‘snail porridge’ – it goes without say that heston’s was completely lost on moi!!!! so it was refreshing to see quite ‘normal’ options on the menu but with a little twist. ‘simple’ food cooked to perfection & served magnificently! definitely the BEST food i have had in cape town. when i had finished my starter (mushroom ragout in puff pastry) i actually wanted to order another round – it was that amazing!!!! but the highlight for me was definitely the little glasses of sorbet they serve in between the courses – the best sorbet i have ever tasted – they come in trio’s (you can choose from the different flavours) we had orange citrus, apple cinnamon & rose…. icicles from heaven!!!!

being the last to leave the restaurant (now there’s a surprise!) we had the good fortune to meet & chat with the chef – oliver cattermole – who trained at gordon ramsay’s old hospital road restaurant & worked at novelli’s & the ivy. after a great conversation with him it became clear why this restaurant is so brilliant – his knowledge & passion for his job was catching – i almost applied to be his sous chef (that job having already been taken by an ex-scotts of mayfair chef – one of my favourite london haunts….) so sadly he wasn’t jumping at the opportunity to hire yours truly!!!.

my other half actually asked me not to blog about this place…. he tried to convince me that some things are meant to be kept ‘secret’…. thing is…. it’s just too good a secret to keep!