2019 UPDATE: Sadly Mangata has closed its doors since this review.
Original Review of Mangata in Simon’s Town
Happy Restaurant Wednesday! I’ve looking forward to sharing this blog post with you as it’s about a really lovely new restaurant in the deeeeep South, which isn’t usually the location for a fine dining restaurant.
Mangata is a fresh, new restaurant that’s located on Simon Town’s main road. With a modern dining offering, it’s quite a new vocation for many living in the deep south and has had quite a polarising response within the community. Many people live in Simon’s Town because they have naval careers or are centered around the fishing industry. Glamorous eating experiences aren’t always high on their list of priorities. Others who live in the area get a bit tired of the small town feeling and want to have more variety in the community. Depending on your point of view, you’ll either like or dislike Mangata.
Having grown up in a small town – and left, I fully understand where the restaurant fits in and really enjoyed my visit. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling very well on the day so I wasn’t feeling my usual greedy self. But I was still spoilt and was able to try a number of beautiful dishes. Here’s what we had:
Amuse Bouche: Chilli Pineapple Muscles
I don’t eat seafood – you know that by now, but I LOVE the combination of pineapple and Tabasco (or chili) so I had to try one! I can officially say these are the muscles that I’ve ever had. They were super fresh so they weren’t sticky fishy, so if you DO like seafood, you will love these!
Starter: Pork Nek Bon Bon
Ok forgetting the seafood cause I totally wasn’t there for that, pork neck bon bons = BOOM! Loved, loved, loved these! Smoked tomato puree, crispy bacon and basil oil ensure that all the moisture in your mouth doesn’t dissolve – as so often is the case with croquette type things (these didn’t have potato in them). The smoked tomato refreshes the palate, the crispy crunch of the bacon amps up the pork, perfectly deep-fried and the actual meat mix wasn’t super dry either, which was fantastic. Also, they had dried apple on the plate which is a fun way to incorporate an old combination (pork and apple), but in a new way. Great touch.
Second Starter: Ostrich Carpaccio
Our second starter was the ostrich carpaccio, served with horseradish snow, a Bloody Mary Jelly is what really impressed me (you can see the red cube on the right of the picture) and capers. I LOVED the fresh, acidic pops of the capers as well as the pops of rock salt adding the much-needed seasoning so many carpaccios lack. This is a dish, perfect for eating on a warm day. (My notes said it was springbok but the menu now says ostrich so now I’m totally confused! But it was yum either way 🙂 )
Main: Duck Breast
Because I wasn’t feeling that well, I was really in the mood for rare meat, but the chef was so passionate about his duck dish that I couldn’t say no! Plus, everything else had been so great, I trusted him. The duck was cooked to perfection and if you love rare meat then you will love the soft texture of this plate. The skin wasn’t crispy, but the fat had been rendered down so it was delicious. The croquettes offered more than enough crunch to balance out the soft texture. I loved the mushroom puree that added another subtle flavour profile, unexpected but good. The rainbow carrots added a fresh, earthy taste. I have no idea what the pink foam was, but the sauce tied it all together perfectly none the less.
Mr John had the beef rib eye and also said it was cooked to perfection. It’s served with potato fondant, garlic puree (which was SUPER garlicy! Keep that in mind!) and a red wine jus. A classic, but beautiful dish.
Dessert: Yoghurt Panna Cotta
This panna cotta was so darn soft I thought it would melt at any moment (it didn’t!). The texture was as soft as cotton wool and I loved the black vanilla specks in the top. The fresh berries added a pop of acid and the, seemingly, piped cream were actually little meringues! So there was the actual strawberry mousse (which I thought was a cream) and hard meringues adding moisture and texture to the plate.
Dessert: Coffee on Brownies
Mr John had the chocolate and orange brownie, BUT the brownie wasn’t really a brownie. Unfortunately, brownies are just TOO well-known for a crusty surface and gooey center for me to qualify these as brownies. But the kick of coffee was great, the almond crunch added all the required crunch and the toffee sauce was out of this world! The balance between the chocolate and orange flavours was flawless and the soft acidy taste of raspberries acted as the perfect mid-eating palate cleaner.
Who Should Visit Mangata
If you’re living in the Tokai, Fish Hoek, Noordhoek, Misty Cliffs or Kommetjie areas, book at Mangata for a week night. It’s an easy drive and worth the visit. If you’re living in the Claremont, Newlands, Kenilworth, Observatory or town side, book for a Saturday lunch. The new, unusual views across the bay are beautiful and would make a stunning Saturday lunch time or night visit. If you’re visiting Cape Town and plan on going to Boulder’s Beach to see the Penguins or Misty Cliffs, please keep Mangata in mind.
If you decide to book, please let them know you heard about it through Boring Cape Town Chick Blog so that they give you extra special treatment 🙂
Monday – Closed
Tuesday – Sunday: 12pm – 10pm
Bookings: 021 786 1635
Thank you to Mangata for having us. We hope to see you again in the future!