[Cape Town, South Africa] Baia
You know how it goes. Sometimes you just can’t put your finger on why you don’t like a restaurant. It wasn’t the location – on the waterfront with a fantastic view of Table Mountain. It wasn’t the food – the food was good. Very good. It was about the style of service – very pushy, very smarmy, not an opportunity missed to upsell. It wasn’t a style of service I’m used to and it wasn’t a style of service we’d come across elsewhere in South Africa.
One starter was a salad of seared tuna and crab. Although why they make such a play of the crab coming from Alaska – particularly as its flavour was underwhelming. I’m not normally a fan of tuna just seared and, therefore, mainly raw. – but here the slippery oiliness worked well with the rocket that sat with it. It was perked up by a couple of dabs of a wasabi mayo. The other starter was a light crisp pastry tart, generously filled with courgette, roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and pesto.
This was followed by one of the specials (one of the quite expensive specials we’d find out when the bill came). A platter comprising three large prawns and three langoustines – each quickly grilled and split lengthways making for easy extraction of the sweet flesh. With rice and chips on the side, this was seafood cookery an its simple finest.
Across the table, a fillet of the day’s line caught fish had again been simply cooked. I have no idea what it was but it was bang-on for freshness. It came with perfectly cooked rice and a sautéed “salsa” of squid tentacles, prawn, Pepperdew, capers and chilli. It would have been all too easy for the strong flavours in the “salsa” to overwhelm the fish but the kitchen had shown considerable restraint in balancing the dish.
We passed on dessert but did have very decent coffee.
We’d had to wait overly long to place our order and there was an irritating delay first to get the bill and then to pay it.