Guardian Peak has amazing views. Glass from ceiling to floor, peering out over vine-clad slopes and rugged mountains- the stuff that we are spoiled with in Cape Town. The staff is friendly and their wines are good. They call it the food and wine experience. The menu is organized around their wines with a starter and a main chosen to complement each wine. The price of each dish actually includes a glass of wine. I think it is a fun, refreshing way of organizing a menu. It did take a fair bit explaining from the waiter, given that there were lots of specials too that didn’t quite work the same way. The food options were quite approachable: lamb shank pie, smoked trout salad, steak etc.
I haven’t written any negative reviews in ages. I don’t particularly like writing them but I do believe in them (see rant here), provided that you give the restaurant some feedback. The reason is that we have actually been really lucky lately. Hooray! That is until a lazy day of wine routing about a week ago.
Two things went really wrong. The quality of the food wasn’t great and the wine pairing (the focus of the menu) was just plain off.
Following a global carpaccio obsession, I had a mushroom carpaccio. I don’t know what had happened to it, but it was really bitter. Moreover it was a light dish and it was paired with their shiraz-lead blend. Apparently the mushroom dish was chosen to complement the earthiness of the wine. True, mushrooms, in general, are earthy but not when they are served as a fresh carpaccio. The Chimp (makes me smile every time I write that) had a warm trout salad, which was a huge pile of salad leaves (Woollies?) with some slightly overcooked trout garnished with cucumber and carrot ribbons. My second course (I took two starters) was pickled spicy calamari salad, also a light dish. The calamari was chewy (maybe just the pickling?) and it was a bit bland. The calamari salad was paired with another heavy red blend (cab sav and shiraz), which tasted completely sour with the salad. The calamari salad was supposed to play with the spiciness of the shiraz (I did ask). The Chimp had some chewy Japanese-style beef, which was overwhelmed by a sweet chutney. I did actually complain. I have to say they took the complaint well saying that it was a new menu and it is great to get feedback on the wine pairings.
It is a pity. I really hope the feedback got passed on and they give some more thought to the focal point of the concept, their wine pairing. The space and the concept do have potential.