Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Mantra on King William
Not so long ago I had the pleasure of trying the degustation menu at Mantra on King William. Situated along one of the streets with many great restaurants, this renovated old house had somehow retained it's charm despite the modernization it had gone through. Having said that they had dark wood floors and timber antique inspired furniture.
It was still somewhat light when we got there. We had a window seat and as the night got progressively darker it became difficult to take good pictures with my point and shoot. The night started off with a beautiful loaf of sourdough rye bread, and I say loaf because there was about 5 thick slices. Also compliments of the kitchen, was a spoonful of Salmon tatare with a bit of a crunch. What a nice way to start the meal.
First course: Woodside goat's curd bubble, Mantra garden salad, candied beetroot & olive dust
It looked so pretty! An interesting choice of ingredients for the garden salad but oh so pretty with vibrant colours. The chef is certainly very artistic with his food. The goat's curd wasn't overpowering and there was an interesting range of textures in the garden salad. We also noticed his use of edible flowers as part of his dishes which became more apparent as we progress through the menu.
Second course: Milk poached pork belly, smoked eel brandade, mustard leaves and crackling
Amazing. The pork belly was cooked to perfection with beautiful flavour. The meat falls apart nicely. Once again presentation was top. The smoked eel brandade was interesting but I liked it. It's the first time I've tried it. It's like potato mash with mashed smoked eel, and herbs.
Third course: Confit duck leg & savoy, foie gras tortellini with mushroom consomme
I always love duck. It either has to be peking duck style or confit so as you can tell I was looking forward to this dish. The shredded duck meat was inside the little cabbage parcel. It was tender but flavour didn't blow me away. As for the tortellini, the foie gras filling oozed out when cut so I quickly put the whole piece in my mouth. Very nice but very rich flavour. I must admit by this stage I was starting to feel a bit full.
Fourth course: 12 hour braised oxtail, celeriac, vichy carrots and eggplant
The braised oxtail was very tender and flavourful it just fell apart. I enjoyed the flavour and the meat but it was a very, very rich dish. I'm glad we had a degustation menu serve. I don't think I could eat it as a main meal. The carrots broke the richness up a bit but I was feeling very full after this dish.
Fifth course: Orange curd, passionfruit, raspberry fizz and mango
This was a really interesting dessert. It didn't look too appealing and the taste wasn't incredible or anything. The flavour was fine but I found the texture a bit weird and unappetizing. Nevertheless I needed the citrus to cut through the richness from the oxtail before.
Sixth course: Cave aged English cloth bound cheddar, apple infused balsamic, walnut crunch with lavosh biscuit
We finished off on a high with this beautiful cheese. All the flavours tied in together really well.
The head chef at Mantra is Tom Reid and he definitely displays his art when it comes to presentation however sometimes there's too much going on the plate. It was a great culinary experience and I believe this restaurant is fast getting it's name out there.
Mantra on King William
36 King William Road
Goodwood, 5034 SA