Friday, April 1, 2011

The Roundhouse

I was very surprised to find, on arrival, that The Roundhouse is really round. I hear you sniggering in the corner there, it shouldn’t have been surprising, I know. It’s been a long week. So, it’s a round house that was used by Lord Somerset as a hunting lodge. He used to hunt lions there. Lions! I was surprised by that, too. I didn’t realise we had lions down here. Had being the operative word.

I am always rather scathing of (mostly American) tourists who have the very skewed idea that lions and giraffe roam our streets (how disappointing it must be to find they don’t). I must now bite my tongue, because I had no idea that, in fact, until quite recently, they really did. I thought lions were only found further north.

They are now, of course, due to nice people like Lord Somerset and his cronies who shot them, all dead. And then some other bright fellows came and deforested the beautiful hillside skirts of the Twelve Apostles (mountains) to make way for the millionaires of Camps Bay to build their cocktail bars and showy houses over which The Roundhouse looks.

The view is spectacular. It must’ve been even more so before us humans planted our bricks-and-mortar-and-electricity thumbprint on it. Or maybe not. Watching the lights come on as the sun set behind the grey cloud over the bay was very pretty and twinkley indeed. In them olden days I suppose the view was just, well, dark, when the sun set. And possibly quite scarey, with the roar of lions. Oh, it must’ve been wonderful.

It was wonderful last night too, though. It’s a Very Expensive restaurant. One of those where you pay a set price that could pay for a small car and then choose four courses from four options for each. Everything was delicious. I started with a Blumenthalesque organic garden starter complete with ‘soil’ made from reduced/dried/some-other-fancy-word-for-dessicated mushrooms and the tiniest, sweetest, whole mushrooms.

Then I had smoked tomato risotto with crayfish and parmesan. Yum. Smokey tomato is good. Interspersed with sweet pieces of crayfish: even better. For my ‘main’ course I had the slow roasted pork belly with an apple brandy gravy. Succulent and fatty (as pork should be). I’m started to sound like a food crit. I’ve been spoilt this week with eating out.

Pudding, my best part, was a beautiful chocolate nut mousse concoction served with tiny cinnamon doughnuts. It had a larney name that I can’t remember and tasted like heaven.

On taking our orders, the waiter asked each of our names. At the end of the meal, he took my plate and said: “How was that, Shiny?” Of course he didn’t really say Shiny because that’s not my real name (my parents aren’t that cruel) but called me by my real name, which is an uncommon and not particularly easy one. Impressive to say the least.

The staff were incredible. It always makes me slightly uneasy having people rush to my every whim, it’s not my thing. It’s wonderful to be treated to an extravagant meal like that in such a beautiful setting with fabulous company but I can’t help wondering what goes through the waiter’s minds as they serve beautiful but little food for exorbitant prices to perfectly manicured people with lots of gold jewellery, present company excluded.

Somebody jumped to attention each time anybody got up to go to the bathroom, opening the interleading door, then folding their napkin while they were there. Shuzi, one of our party, made it her mission to rush off to the loo as soon as nobody was around. The maitre’D came running, but missed her. How we laughed (him too).

I did wear my pretty filigree silver earings in honour of the occasion, and enjoyed it thoroughly and slept like a baby thinking of those little, tiny mushrooms frolicking about in my tummy. It’s lovely to be treated every now and again, isn’t it?

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