75 Kloof St, Gardens, Cape Town. Tel: 065 346 1792. Sushi from R50 (4 pieces), mains R110-225, ramen R100-150. 500ml local draught craft beer R35.
It’s been many a moon since I last did a restaurant review. It’s not that I don’t eat out. I eat out altogether too much, it’s just that I never get around to posting a review. I loved Yuzu so much it inspired me to start writing restaurant reviews on the blog again. The venue is superb – grab sushi at the bar, or sit at one of many tables inside the slightly seedy (in the best possible way) bar with its retro Asian posters and signs. But better still – weather permitting – grab a table on the patio and dine al fresco.
The menu has plenty of choice, though not so much that you begin to feel you’re in one of those Gordon Ramsay nightmare kitchen restaurants. We skipped the sushi in favour of something a little more warming. We kicked off with the Killermari (light, crispy, flavourful, with an exquisitely tangy lime aioli) and the Danger Dumplings (delicious but I would have liked a lot more spice for them to live up to their name).
Main course-wise, I can highly recommend the pulled pork ramen (there’s a Japanese-hipster fusion dish for you) – hearty, warming, flavourful, spicy and great value for money. Tip: the portion is massive and there are no take-out containers so if you don’t want to take your leftovers home in coffee cups (yes, I did), you might want to bring your own Tupperware along. The burger also comes recommended.
Service was perfectly friendly and very fast, though when it came to enquiring about the beer, our server drew a blank. “Which beer would you recommend?” “Oh I don’t know, I don’t like any of them. I’m not much of a beer drinker.” Hmmm. The menu lists simply “Striped Horse” so we enquired which beer of theirs it was. “It’s a craft beer,” came that trusty reply (we ordered anyway and it turned out to be the pilsner). He totally redeemed himself though by telling us about their Sunday specials – half price on all draughts. R17 for a 500ml pint of Striped Horse?? If that’s not the best deal in Cape Town, I don’t know what is. (There’s also a special on ramen – R99 including a half pint of Striped Horse).
Ah, here Yuzu let themselves down. They have
some of the most awesome taps I think I’ve ever seen – a row of knives and cleavers that would have even the grumpiest psychopath rushing to pour a beer. Alas, the selection of beers coming out of the tap is less impressive – Hansa, Black Label, Amstel, Castle Lite and Heineken all somehow made the cut. Representing the craft beer corner are a mere duo – CBC Amber Weiss and Striped Horse pilsner. (They also have Newlands Spring Passionate Blond). I thought they might redeem themselves on the bottle menu but nope – just more of the same with a whopping nine indistinguishable lagers and not a single craft brew. I think it’s an opportunity sadly wasted since much of the food here would pair so well with the likes of an amber ale, an IPA or a witbier.
If only they had a better range of beers, this could easily have been a hop or a half away from five, but this is a beer blog and in this day and age, I’ve come to expect a decent selection of beers in pretty much any restaurant I enter. Still, the food is very good, the place is fun and welcoming (and at least on Sunday lunchtime, kid-friendly) and if they keep that Sunday special going you can expect to see my swapping roast beef and Yorkshire puds for Wagyu beef and Danger Dumplings on any given Sunday.