60 Colinton Road, Vineyard Hotel and Spa, Newlands, Cape Town. Tel: 021 657 4545. myoga.co.za Mains R145-265, 7-course tasting menu R325. 440ml South African bottled craft beer around R55
The Vineyard Hotel has a fabulous setting. Expansive lawns are backed by the mountain and it’s a delightful place for an afternoon drink and a stroll. Myoga is tucked away in a corner and doesn’t offer the same marvellous views as the hotel’s main wining and dining deck (though I’ve only ever eaten here after dark, so I could be wrong), but in my opinion it’s by far the best eating option at the hotel. The interior has a cavernous feel when the restaurant isn’t busy – it’s a large space with high ceilings, so atmosphere can be a little lacking. If you can get a group together, opt for the private dining room down in the cellar – great for a special occasion.
Opt for Myoga’s seven-course tasting menu, an absolute steal at R325 per person (excluding wine pairings). The chef’s signature style is Asian fusion, which means you get treats like caramel soy pork belly, hoisin baby kabeljou and lemongrass sorbet on the menu. There’s a pleasing amount of choice too – four options for every course. The pork belly is superb, while the Granny Smith dessert with its many components surely has something for everyone… Portions are perfect – at the end of the evening you don’t feel the need to nip for a quick MacDonalds on the way home, but you also don’t have to be rolled out the door. There is an a la carte option for the not-so-hungry.
The food came out quickly, staff all know very dish inside out and our server was both friendly and polite. But these reviews cover more than just whether the food came out on time and with a smile and alas, when it came to beer knowledge, Myoga has to lose a few points. On perusing the menu, we asked which beer our server would recommend with our dining choices. Despite the dozen or so boutique beers on the list, offering flavours of chocolate, cloves, banana or spice, our server was quick to recommend Peroni. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with Peroni I suppose, but when pressed for some assistance with the beer menu, he came up short, admitting that he didn’t really know much about the other beers. Perhaps a little Beer 101 staff training is in order at Myoga…
The Vineyard Hotel is of course, most often associated with wine, but Myoga also has an decent beer menu. The first thing that impressed was the fact that the beers were actually listed on the menu, and each with its own description. Finally people are starting to understand the concept of a beer list! Beer pairing dinners are offered, or you could just design your own pairings. There’s nothing on tap, but you’ll find 16 local and imported craft beers in the bottle, plus ginger beer, cider and of course the standard selection of big lagers. Not everything is going to be in stock though – I admire the addition of Devil’s Peak’s Vin de Saison to the beer menu but it did create some very high expectations at our table that sadly couldn’t be met.
This was my third visit to Myoga and I’ll definitely be back. The food is always good, the price is certainly right and the beer menu continues to grow and improve. With a little more beer knowledge, I think Myoga could become a must-visit place on the beer-loving gourmand’s Cape Town to do list.