[REVIEW] Carne Steak House, Cape Town, 14.04.14

Double story building with lights over door and trees on front step on cobbled pavementFor years I’ve heard about the Cape Town steak house Carne. Reviews of “best steak I’ve ever eaten”, “tucked away” and facial expressions of “it’s not cheap” have been expressed over the years, piquing my interest. Finally after, literally, years we made our way to Carne with friends, bracing ourselves for the killer bill, but keen to have a great meal.

We met everyone at the bar upstairs where we were able to eye out the steak fridge where the meat is kept at, I assume, room temperature. We made our way down into the concrete cave. As inhospitable as that sounds, it actually looks more sleek with the minimalistic modern wooden tables and simple table settings. The chairs are transparent plastic which look fantastic but I was wearing a dress. Not great to stick to your dining chair! Other patrons chatted happily whilst we took our seats. The restaurant has a great feelings. And hey, any dining room that starts with a wine cellar at the entrance is a great start to me. 😉

grey cement cellar restaurant with wooden tables and soft lighting

I took a look at the wine menu which had numerous wines available. I’ve thrown out the red with red meat, white with white meat rule. I like white wine so I chose a lovely glass of chardonnay. It was R50 a glass but that’s pretty much standard for any upmarket venue. And it was truly delicious.

Booked meat on the boneOur waitress arrived with a slightly crazy tray of fresh meat offering all sorts of sizes and cuts of red meat such as lamb, beef, game, etc. and explained their profiles to us. When it came to choosing my piece of meat I’ve never been more indecisive in my life! My goodness! What a selection! It was also in a catch 22 as I’d gone to Barrister’s in Newlands the night before and had a really lovely steak. Best steak I’d had in a while, in fact. So I was considering the lamb raviolli at Carne as I often eat the Woolworths lamb ravioli and wanted to taste a real, deal, not-tv-dinner, version. But how could I order ravioli in the steak house I’d been wanting to visit for years?! Just didn’t seem right.

grilled fillet on the bone with rosemary twigMy partner ended up ordering a rump, but I didn’t see the point of having a steak you could have at any other steak restaurant. So I selected the fillet on the bone (R235). This was a tough choice as I’m not always convinced that tenderness is more important than flavour, however, our waitress assured me that it would be a fillet like no other – and she was right! (I’m DROOLING just thinking on the steak even though I had it nearly a month ago!) I had fresh spinach (not creamed) and a beautiful mushroom sauce that was delicious.

fillet on the bone with mushroom sauce and a chocolate fondant dessertMy friend ordered a steak on the bone as she likes her meat well done. Carne didn’t fuss about this either. Although I appreciate that chefs don’t want their beautiful meats desecrated, at the end of the day, is the chef being right or happy customers more important? This is a business, I know the answer. As it were, the waitress recommended a cut that is enjoyed on the more well side and she was happy with her dinner. I had a bite of hers and my partner’s rump and they were delicious, but not as good as mine 😉

For dessert we had the chocolate fondant. Every couple shared one and it was the perfect way to end off the meal. I have to add that our waitress was from Europe (not sure where, maybe Germany?) and she was a true professional. I was really indecisive and kept humming and ha-ing and she kept totally cool, patient and professional. I probably would have been annoyed by someone me if the shoe was on the other foot! She was very helpful, all her advice was spot on and I appreciated her tolerance.

Overall, although I wasn’t on the romantic date I had envisioned, I still wanted it to be a special eating experience. So thank you Carne. I will DEFINITELY be back. YUM! (Sorry did I say that?!)

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