Jakes On Summerley, Kenilworth, 16.12.11

What exactly is the deal with Jakes on Summerley? No one ever recommends it, complains about it, advertises it,  where does it fit in? It used to be a post-work drink, estate-agent hub back when Pam Golding was around the corner but that’s the first and last I’d heard of it…until Eat Out featured it in their “Best Steaks in Cape Town” list. On this recommendation, we decided to pop in.

The restaurant is prettily lit, both outside with its partial face-brick style and inside, with a modern interior (glass walls, chrome chairs, etc). Composed of 3 sections: an inside formal restaurant to the left, a casual bar and tables to the right and a street cafe styled section at the entrance under a shade cloth. The family owned restaurant has a warm atmosphere, encouraged by the friendly staff, however, a restaurant filled with the 50+ age group doesn’t usually give a great first impression. (No offence old folk!) None the less we picked our table which was cosy and festive thanks to the subtle Xmas decorations on the mantle made a nice touch.

We had already studied the menu online and were happy to place our order fairly early. The Camembert starter arrived on a hot plate, a great touch as too often have cheese starters arrived undercooked which spoils the experience. It was accompanied by toasted ciabatta, 1 leaf of rocket (literally), 1 chopped pepper-dew and a tiny touch of sweet chilli sauce. It was delicious but the extras portions need to be bumped up as they didn’t go far on a whole medallion of cheese.

The other starter was the pork ribs which were piping hot on arrival. This just screams “MICROWAVE” to me and I don’t feel microwaves should be used to reheat anything in a restaurant. Slightly over cooked, the sauce had a good flavour and made them “juicy” but they don’t seem to have been prepared fresh on the spot. None the less, they were enjoyed.

The mains fell on Eat Out’s “best steak” recommendation: Black Mushroom, Cheese and Garlic (MCG) steak. Our other selection was the Masala Wine Jus 400g sirloin. The MCG steak was lovely and tender, perfect portion size (+- 250g) served with beautifully cooked mixed vegetables and perfectly crisp potato wedges. Although the meal was thoroughly enjoyable, the topping hardly had any garlic flavour and seemed more homely than restaurant like, but this depends on the customer, so the only real criticism is that it was ordered as medium but arrived as medium-well to well. Still delicious but not as ordered.

The 400g sirloin was a hit and great value for money. Expecting a curry tinge due to the masala,  it seems masala wine is slightly different so the sauce had a warm Xmas taste to it rather than an Indian curry taste. The meat was juicy and tender, cooked perfectly medium with the same baked vegetables and delicious crispy potato wedges. A lovely meal.

For dessert was the platter, absolutely perfect for two to share. It contained a chocolate brownie with a perfectly crisp shell and stodgy center and a Bar-One sauce, deep fried Spanish donuts: very hot cinnamon balls sprinkled with sugar, a mini ramekin of beautiful creme brûlée with specks of vanilla and egg free taste and texture as well as the platter winner: deep fried ice cream with butterscotch sauce! This was really fantastic! It had some sort of sugary outer coast which preserved the ice cream from melting and just tasted DIVINE! Such a fun way to end a meal.

As we waited for our bill the chefs and waiting staff were hanging around the welcome desk. They are young and just relaxing after service, no harm meant, but I don’t think they should be hanging out where customers can see them. They weren’t too noisy but I did find it a little unprofessional.
Jakes offered a clean, tasty, well portioned and presented meal for fair prices. Small details like a chilled carafe (there is 1 option under each wine category that is available by the glass) makes the meal pleasant. I would definitely return to try other items of the menu as there are quite a large number of Asian flavours that we hardly explored. Definitely try the deep fried ice cream if you pay Jakes a visit!

P.S There is ample parking opposite the restaurant in a car park reserved for Jakes’ customers.
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