The Cape, Beaconsfield
It’s tough in the food business these days, isn’t it? So much choice for punters like us, and squeeeeezed margins for the owners of pubs, restaurants and cafés. What I’m seeing more and more of, in all kinds of businesses, is diversification – so a café like The Cape in Beaconsfield is able to offer coffee and pastries to mums and prams in the morning; casual diners and business catch-ups over lunch, and then, with considerable success, a Friday and Saturday night dining experience.
I’ve previously eaten at The Cape in the daytime, and it’s a light, bright experience with fresh salads, crisp wines and a kind of relaxed gastro café feel – perfect for a girly lunch or a business meeting, or even a snatched coffee at one of the outside tables in warmer months.
More unusual is the evening incarnation – the lights are low, the already impressive chandeliers feel opulent and dramatic, and the mirrored wall and dining area out the back with its blown-up art and industrial lighting offer something different to many of the local places I’ve dined at. The food ticks too, with a strong South African influence on the menu.
The Friday and Saturday evening thing has clearly gone down well with locals – the place was packed the night I visited with my mum – and it’s not hard to see why. Apart from really enjoying the buzzy vibe and the look of the place, the food on the night I visited was excellent. Even my mother, who’s had enough meals out with me to start her own flippin blog, was a big fan and threatened to return with her pensioner posse.
I started with warm roasted sweet potatoes and pear salad with walnut with a blue cheese dressing (below) to pierce the sweetness …
…. while my mum went for lamb bobotie samosas with raisin chutney and tumeric mayo. It was a tiny-looking course but it packed a real punch, my mum was raving about it all night.
My main blew the feathers out of the henhouse. Ostrich was quite the relevation, with the most delicious jus ever. Venison is the nearest comparison to give you and I’d urge you to try it.
It was the meatfest of the Braai platter that felled my mum – a 4oz sirloin steak, Boerewors ring, lamb chop and chicken sosaties, with chunky chips and a side order of complete pigdom. She did well, bless her, but this is a course to order if you haven’t eaten for a month (so probably perfect for early February).
The dessert was the only so-so moment of the evening – a choice of sweets offered in identical jars (I’m guessing to ease congestion in the kitchen and with the bonus of pre-prep) but I would have preferred my dessert plated.
The South African wine chosen for us by the owner/maitre d’ was superb, and even better, I wasn’t driving so it was a 3 minute walk from the restaurant back to the train station and a trippety hop up the Chiltern Line to home. Result on all levels.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: The Fri/Sat nights would defnitely work for romantic couples, as well as larger parties out in the main restaurant area out the back. Those who love opulent interiors and a bit of interiors drama will enjoy the shabby chic/industrial mash up. If you’re looking for new taste sensations, the South African influenced menu will please.
Not for: Foodie kids will love it, but it’s perhaps not for the die-hard fish finger brigade.
£££: In the middle I’d say. It’s £6.95 – 8.95 for entrees, £13.95 for a burger up to £22.95 for a fillet steak.
6 Burkes Parade, Station Road, Beaconsfield HP9 1NN. thecapeonline.com