Mint Restaurant and Terrace is a restaurant I’ve been wanting to visit for years. Firstly, because I had a corn and jalapeno risotto at a corporate function at the Taj Cape Town a few years ago, which I’ve never forgotten! (Yum). And two, because I heard they were Halaal certified, which makes it a great place to recommend to foreign visitors – if the food is good.
Unfortunately, my thoughts are about 4 years outdated the Mint has transformed a number of times since then, including having recently been renovated both physically and by menu, as well as being Halaal friendly, not certified.
Mr John and I popped down for a mid-week dinner for two and really enjoyed our visit. The olive green restaurant is illuminated by soft gold lighting and a large wine and champagne wall. From families, to couples business executives and children, Mint gave us new insights into type of people visiting the Mother City and enjoying our country.
Mint Restaurant and Terrance really doesn’t look like much from the outside. We entered via the starkly lit, isolated walk way of St George’s Mall, which is VERY close to St George’s Cathedral and secured by a bouncer.
The tone immediately changed upon entering the restaurant. With fresh, shiny tiles reflecting soft gold lighting, olive green walls and an illuminating wine cellar wall, we immediately felt welcomed. (As the evening progressed, the restaurant did feel slightly sterile, simply because it’s quite a large space and it wasn’t full. A soft, live duo/band would probably elevate the ambiance, resulting in visitors not having to chat in hushed tones.)
The staff were really excited to see us, with chef visiting our table and launching into an explanation of his favourite dishes and what he’d like to present to us. We asked about his career and learnt that he’d been working at the Taj in Morocco so we knew the flavours would be delicious.
Our waitress was also very professional. We touched on a few conversations about South Africa, without getting too hot and heated. I must also add that the conversations was only engaged upon my interest. I enjoyed chatting to her, but she knew when it was time for us to focus on our meal.
Starters at Mint Restaurant and Terrace
I LOVED the bread and dip board that kicked off our meal. I love “a little bit of this and a little bit of that” kind of eating. Unfortunately, I had to go a little easy on the breads due to being gluten intolerant these days, but I couldn’t resist having a bit of both the pita and the flat breads.
The flat breads (rottis) were perfectly charcoaly (but not burnt) paired with an delictably smooth, cool hummus topped with chickpeas for crunch and olive oil for moisture. A match made in the heaven. The basil pesto dish was a fresh contrast with the soft pita breads, both delicious (but the hummus was my favourite).
Mains: Salads & Skewers
The copper, skewer pots was the chef’s selection (after explaining that we don’t like seafood) and they were a wonderful bit of theatre. Three skewers of beef, chicken and lamb were presented in copper, Moroccan ovens with hot coals tucked in the bottom. The coals left smoke puffing out the top like a little table chimney.
The beef skewer had cubes of beef, with the lamb koftas being soft and tender (although firm on the skewer, didn’t fall off) and the chicken was gently spiced with curry flavours. Perfectly cooked, they were delicious and I didn’t end up ordering another main afterwards.
Accompanied by two fresh salads; one Mediterranean with tomatoes, thinly slicked horseradish, microherbs, black olives and feta. The other, a Caesar salad with biltong (not sardines!), Parmesan crumb and quinoa. Both delicious and a refreshing change from the over played Greek salad.
With Mr John being a fussy eater (although he did tuck into the skewers) we ordered him a steak with 2 sauces. The steak and chips were great, lathered in butter, soft and tender. The sauces, however, went too our taste. The chimichurri sauce just wasn’t blended/crunched down enough and felt more like a herb dressing. The smoked chipotle was more of a hickory mayo than a punchy, smoked pepper flavour.
Desserts at Mint Restaurant and Terrace
We ordered our own desserts, not realising that they were making a dessert platter for us! Unfortunately, some were a hit, some were a miss.
I ordered the panna cotta as I it’s one of my favourite desserts. Presented beautifully with fresh pineapple, the flavour of the cooked cream was just a bit pedestrian. Mr John ordered the chocolate fondant and it was just as a good fondant should be, chocolately and gooey!
The dessert platter that arrived from chef was a better offering. A wonderland of a deep, dark chocolate brownie, an Oreo cheesecake, pink marshmallow lemon meringue cup and traditional Indian dessert – the name I forget. (It’s basically like pistachio cookie dough, I love it!)
We enjoyed our meal at Mint and would love it if the ambiance could improve a little bit. The staff were great and we enjoyed our food. The problem with Cape Town is that it’s very competitive. The ambiance really has to be special to keep people coming back.
If you’re looking for something a bit different, keep those beautiful copper pots in mind as we enjoyed the interactive experience of tucking into the smokey chimneys. (They have an afternoon tea special with a gin cocktail for R250pp or 2 course meal with a draft or glass of wine for R195 per person exclusively for Father’s day on the 16th of June.)
Thank you to the Taj Cape Town for having us!
Disclaimer: No payment was received for this review, however, we did dine as guests of Mint Restaurant & Terrance. All views are my own.