Saturday, August 24, 2019

Upper Bloem Restaurant

Upper Bloem Restaurant refers to the uniqueness of Cape Town and draws inspiration from the port city’s mix of cultures. They offer tapas-style and seasonally inspired dishes. We sat in the back at one of the "chef's counter" tables and enjoyed the set dinner menu of 3 courses with 9 dishes total and additional wine pairing.

First, we were treated to a unique bread board.  With a couple different dips, we used our hands to scoop up each bite.  Right away, we knew we were off to a great evening. 

The first course featured Ostrich ‘Bunny Chow’ Dumpling with shallot crumb and buffalo fromage blanc.  I had a vegetarian substitute of the dumpling made with mushroom filling instead of ostrich meat.  It really matched well with the creamy cheese.

The Crisp Akni was a filo pastry with chicken aioli, pickled cucumber, pink peppercorn & black rice spice.  We were also treated to a savory parmesan custard with crispy black lentils.

I liked the Potato and Leek with smoked panna-cotta, chive oil, and black lentil soil that gave a real earthy flavor.  These first bites were paired with a glass of Hermanuspietersfontein ‘Kat met die Houtbeen’ Sauvignon Blanc 2016 from Sondagskloof.

The second course included Buttermilk Fried Hake with pickled onion, dill oil, whey emulsion, and curry leaf aioli.  This dish was great and would go well with a cold beer.

We also enjoyed the Local Line Caught Fish in a bone broth with Malay-spiced shallot purée and charred onions.  It had those Southeast Asian flavors that are addictive.

The Samp and Beans dish was creatively plated with a tin filled with Saldanha mussels, coconut curry, and gremolata served with a sago crisp and a seaweed crisp in the shape of a mussel shell.  This fish course was served with a glass of Domaine Des Dieux Chardonnay 2014 from Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.

Third was the "meat cuts" - an ode to the chef's father who is a butcher.  Keith enjoyed the House Cured Beef with horseradish, brioche crumb, curried apple and raisin.  I enjoyed the meaty cuts of Tomatoes plated with similar ingredients.

Keith really loved the Braised Short Ribs with bone marrow, mushrooms, and Swiss chard while I had a vegetarian rice substitute that was okay.  His reaction to the meat dish kind of made me jealous.

The Tandoori Carrots were tasty served with miso aubergine purée, carrot emulsion, and tempura leaves.  This course was paired with a glass of Morgenster ‘Lourens River Valley’ Bordeaux Blend 2010 from Stellenbosch.

Lastly, we shared a dessert called Memories of Rice Pudding with toasted rice ice cream, mango jelly, passion fruit curd, coconut, and mint oil. It was very tropical and refreshing.

Overall, this was our favorite dinner in Cape Town.  We loved the tapas concept so we could try many different things.  We also appreciated the influence of mixed cultures in the ingredients and dishes, as is present in the community.  The flavors were strong and unique in each dish.  Hospitality was warm and friendly.

Total Rating: 4.63
Food: 4.5, Price: 5, Service: 5, Ambience: 4, Accessibility: 5

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