I feel so sorry for the owners of the Mess. They probably think that Mr John and I didn’t enjoy our dinner, it’s taken me that long to write this blog post! For those of you who follow my blog, you will be SO sick of me saying I don’t have enough time. But considering I probably went to the Mess 3 months ago…maybe more (feels like a year) and still haven’t written about it, I think it proves my point. I love my day job and it’s become increasingly busy this year, which is great, but unfortunately all the people who depend on me to share the news of my visits have to sit like a cat under a bird feed just WAITING for something to go their way! For that, I am so sorry. In 2017 I’m really going to have to cut down blogging or my commitments because EISH, it can’t take me this long to write a post!
SO! Back to what I really want to share with you – a lovely evening dinner at the Mess. The Mess is in a slightly unusual location for someone who doesn’t spend much time in Greenpoint. It’s in the Rockwell building, which is accessed off Somerset Road. It’s also on the corner of a cul de sac so you actually sit behind prettily decorated iron gates/glass walls looking out onto a largely pedestrian road. I really liked that, it made me feel like I was somewhere different.
The Mess is set in a classic, bistro style yet with a modern twist. They have giant ‘baobab’ wooden trees in the restaurant, which breaks up the space and makes the setting more intimate. (Sorry for the rather dark pictures, it feels better than it looks here.)
I was quite tired the night we visited to I ordered a cherry gin – it was delicious. In fact, I think it was the only thing I had to drink that night. It was really big and it was enough for me for a week night. (But I could easily have one every Friday at 4pm!) Mr John had cherry juice.
What’s For Supper?
I was really torn about what to order; the starters seemed really popular, but they also have a dish with Boring Cape Town Chick written ALL OVER IT! But, let me start with the starters. I tucked into a rabbit raclette with naan bread and the pork tacos. The rabbit was shredded (much like a chicken mayo texture), it was salty and quite gamey. They worked beautifully with the flat breads, but if you don’t like duck this will be too rich for you. I enjoyed it though as it was fresh and sealed with larder. The pork tacos were American style (soft shell), palm sized with fresh lime that brought the whole dish together. I love the crunch slaw that was also smokey, delicious with a hint of coriander to cut through the mayo.
And the Main Attraction
Now for the dish with my name on it – lamb and polenta! This is the kind of food that speaks straight to my happy zone but which I don’t eat often as lamb shanks is the only stewy type wintery dish I can ever find in Cape Town. So I had to have the lamb and it was worth EVERY BITE! Smooth, creamy polenta with roasted baby carrots – which hadn’t been peeled so they were very earthy. The meat was tender as candyfloss (well, nearly!) with a rich, deep gravy. Sublime!
It also came with roast onions, but I would have preferred a green bean or brussel sprout, something to break up the orangeness of the plate – but that’s me being pedantic now. Overall, this is the kind of dish that I’d get off the couch for in the middle of winter. (I realise it looks like it’s smiling at me, maybe it was a sign!) Mr John had steak and chips and he really enjoyed it, it was cooked very well. He’s a simple eater and it hit the spot.
I was just TOO full for dessert but we were invited to try the fondant and Mr John really enjoyed it. It was quite soft, but the nuts added a lovely toasty crunch to balance it out. It gets cooked fresh so you need to wait half an hour, but if you’re mad about fondant you won’t mind the wait.
Make It Summer
While I might have visited at the end of winter, the Mess is totally a summer venue too. They have a medium sized courtyard with a number of tables that would make a lovely lunch time spot or summer evening venue. The restaurant’s glass walls also open up, allowing in light and a view across the pretty courtyard.
Overall, I really enjoyed my food at the Mess. It was a quiet evening and that suited me just fine. There was another table of young professionals there, who were enjoying themselves. If you live in Green Point, this would also make a nice birthday party location as the ‘trees’ allow for some privacy (and noise disintegration). Or grab a bite before a show at the Rockwell, but go early enough to enjoy your meal, it’s not the kind of venue you want to rush off from.
PS I really like the decor, except for the ‘corporate’ art behind the bar. I didn’t feel that it really fit in and that the Mess has way too much personality for that run of the mill piece (sorry artist!).