Jeanne and I had the pleasure of dining at Blanko, a gorgeous restaurant and lounge at the Alphen Boutique Hotel in Constantia.
As you can tell by the title of this post, Blanko exceeded all of our expectations and left us both full and, at the same time, wanting more.
To give you a good idea of how amazing this restaurant is, I am going to talk about a number of aspects that stood out, and I have to say that I cannot praise each of them enough.
Welcome to Blanko
Can I just start off by saying that Jeanne and I agreed that we have never received a more warm welcome at any restaurant, than we did when we arrived at Blanko.
We arrived a little earlier than planned, but were shown to a gorgeous lounge area by our delightful waiter and were told to make ourselves comfortable on their divine white leather couches.
We were brought a menu so we could browse what they had to offer and were asked what we would like to drink. Jeanne decided to order a French Mojito and, me being me, I chose the Grapefruit and Mint Gin and Tonic and both of them were mind-blowingly delicious.
The Grand Tour
Our lovely host, Clare Mack from Spill who invited us on behalf of Blanko, arrived shortly after us and, after a good catch up, we embarked on an extensive and educational tour of the restaurant.
As we went room-to-room, Clare explained to us that all of the artworks that feature in each of the rooms were by some of South
The restaurant overall boasts a vibrant “all day” atmosphere, where locals and travellers can come together to lounge around and sip on a selection of good wines, cocktails and other drinks, and indulge in an array of delicious eats – whether it be snacks or a three course meal.
The striking tables are made out of Italian marble, and there is a dramatically-lit white bar sitting pretty in the centre of the restaurant where guests can see their drinks being made. Other eye-catching aspects include textured furnishings and ambient lighting produced by the most spectacular chandeliers I have ever laid eyes on.
Lastly, for those who like to sit outside, there is a perfect white terrace that stimulates the senses and includes a central water feature, bringing it all together.
On the Menu
Blanko’s menu is mind blowing, and includes an amazing selection of dishes that made me want to order one of everything.
After an extensive conversation about what we were going to order – as we simply could not order the same thing because we each wanted to try each other’s dishes – we finally made a decision, and I am going to walk you through each of the dishes we ordered and the drinks we tried.
- If you want to have a look at their menu in more detail, you can see it here.
Let’s get this Party Started
Right, let’s get to it, the starters that is.
Jeanne chose to have the Calamari starter (Grilled Calamari, Parsley, Garlic, Green Chilli & Lemon), and before the plate reached the table you could smell the aromas from the garlic, green chilli and lemon, instantly making both of our mouths water in anticipation.
The first bite was unbelievable. The flavours were fierce and present, hitting our tastebuds and making them dance with delight. After we swallowed our first mouthful, we then decided to take in how the calamari was cooked, and it was cooked to perfection! It was soft and fresh and everything calamari should be. The dish had a mixture of calamari tubes and tentacles, which made the dish for me, as calamari tentacles are my absolute fave!
I chose my all-time fave – the classic Caprese Salad, however, it was the furthest thing from classic! Blanko’s Caprese Salad included sweet and tangy red and yellow Tomatoes, soft Buffalo Mozzarella, crunchy Italian Bread Croutons, Basil, Olive Oil, Balsamic and colourful edible flowers, all of which were fresh, rich and absolutely spectacular.
I have to admit, even the copious amounts of Caprese Salad I ate in Italy itself didn’t come close to this masterpiece, and I feel as though the edible flowers – that I have never tried before – brought the whole dish together with their peppery flavour. I literally could have eaten another five of these plates and been more than happy, but I am glad I didn’t because I cannot wait to tell you about my main course!
The Main Meal
It was so hard to choose a main meal. Like really, really, really hard. Only because the choice – although small – was made up of some very tasty dishes and I could easily have chosen three.
Since I do not eat very much red meat at home – I am too picky after living in Botswana and eating nothing but fillet when we had steak, thanks dad – I decided to go with the Olive Oil & Rock Salt Grilled Fillet with Mash, and boy-oh-boy was that the right choice to make.
I chose to have it cooked medium to well-done, as I don’t do very well with my steak being too red. However, when the plate hit the table I could see that it was perfectly chargrilled on the outside, and I could not wait to cut into it. So I picked up my knife, and slowly started to cut off my first piece, and when I pulled it away from the rest of the steak, I could see that it was cooked to perfection. Now all I had to do was taste it!
Lifting my fork to my mouth, I took my very first bite, and the piece of steak literally felt as if it melted in my mouth as soon as it touched my tongue. It was soft and tender and covered in olive oil and salt which stung my tongue at first but brought the whole dish together so nicely.
Note about the mash: I know you’re probably thinking, “what can be so amazing about mash?”, but this was the smoothest and creamiest mash I have ever tasted. It was absolutely flawless!
Half way through our meal, the manager, Etienne, came to our table and asked us if we would like anything else to drink with our meal. Jeanne chose to go with the another French Mojito, and I took him up on his offer of a glass of wine – on one condition, that he chose it!
A couple of moments later, he returned to the table with a glass of Warwick First Lady Chardonnay, and told me that “it is an unwooded Chardonnay that is great alternative to SA and its Sauvignon Blanc obsessesion. It has a natural weight that pairs well with food and since it has no wood treatment, it’s not too heavy or overpowering”. And, I have to admit, he was right. It paired perfectly with my meal, and I could have enjoyed a whole bottle!
Right, on to Jeanne’s main course. Jeanne chose to have the Lamb Ragu (Agnolotti Pasta & Lamb Shank). I think she could make up her mind faster than I could, simply because she loves lamb and because she has not eaten pasta for months (she is on a hectic and very strict diet, but decided to treat herself).
Although I do not like lamb, I did have a mouthful of Jeanne’s Lamb Ragu, as I simply couldn’t leave without trying it. I have to admit, it was lovely. The lamb was tasty and had it’s signature gamey taste, and it complimented both the pasta and mash.
To Order Dessert, or not to Order Dessert?
Well, you will be sad to know that Jeanne and I were too full to enjoy dessert, although I had already made up my mind that, if I did in fact have space, I would have the Panna Cotta (Vanilla, Lemon, Mint, Strawberries and Olive Oil).
Unfortunately the Panna Cotta will have to wait until another time, and I have decided that, when I take my mum and step dad for dinner to Blanko during their holiday this December, I am going to have to fit in dessert just so I can have it!
Blanko is a masterpiece and I could not fault a single thing about our whole experience. From the artworks that filled the walls to the relaxed atmosphere, the impeccable service to the spectacular food, I would recommend Blanko to anyone and everyone who asks me where they have to eat in Cape Town!
If you fancy booking yourself a table at the amazing restaurant, don’t hesitate. Take a look at their website and give them a call today!
What’s more, if still have not decided where you want to enjoy Christmas lunch or New Year’s eve, Blanko has set menus for both of those occasions:
Please note that this was a complimentary meal, but all of the thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are my own.