These days the city centre is more often than not a place of anxiety and stress.
By le connoisseur
It is reassuring to know that within minutes of the hustle and bustle of the CBD there is a dining oasis that can provide you with a calming and tranquil setting to enjoy a gourmet meal.
Emmanuel’s Restaurant at the Bronte Hotel is that place.
Emmanuel’s can be accessed through the Bronte’s garden or by its own entrance on Baines Avenue.
Arriving from Baines Avenue you enter a beautifully manicured garden which would be a perfect location for an outdoor luncheon under the massive shady trees.
The restaurant itself is an exercise in tastefully restrained yet elegant interior design.
The neutral colour scheme allows the crisp white tablecloths to pop and appear as literal “canvases” for the meticulously plated meals.
Emmanuel’s offers a couple of additional amenities that are well worth mentioning. There is of course a stocked bar for diners who arrive early or just wish to have a couple of cocktails prior to enjoying their meal.
The restaurant also makes available private dining rooms for groups and secluded more intimate space for couples dining. The staff are friendly, courteous and knowledgeable.
The menu at Emmanuel’s is as elegant as its surroundings. There is a fantastic selection of well-priced local and imported wines. The starters menu offers a balanced mixture of soups, salads and slightly more filling fare to whet your appetite.
Although intrigued with the kudu carpaccio I selected the Kariba crayfish salad to start. To my surprise and further delight we were offered a complimentary pre-starter of mushroom en croute.
This morsel was exquisite. It was a delicious combination of flavours and texture, and has to be one of the most delicious things to pass my lips. It was a very exciting and promising way to start our meal. My partner’s starter of oxtail ravioli was less impressive, lacking the anticipated flavour.
My Kariba crayfish salad however came as an impeccably plated combination of seafood, salad and ham. An obviously well-thought-out dish with attention paid to the visual and textural qualities of the dish.
The stronger flavour of the parma ham, as good as it was, was perhaps a little overbearing in contrast with the more subtle flavours of the crayfish and greens. I enjoyed the dish, nonetheless.
Main courses comprised a selection of game meats, buffalo, rabbit and intriguing crocodile curry, steaks and fish courses. I selected the rib-eye steak which came as a prime 250 gram cut. The steak was cooked to perfection and came with an accompanying pepper sauce and house vegetables.
The vegetable offering of cabbage, spinach, peppers, baby marrow, butternut and potato were obviously fresh and well-prepared.
My partner chose the pork trio, served with cabbage, spinach, peppers, baby marrow, butternut and potato, comprising braised belly, roast loin and griddled fillet on baked apple served with fondant potato, chives and a very rich jus.
The loin and fillet were perfectly seared on the outside and moist on the inside. I especially enjoyed the pork belly, which had just the right amount of crackling.
Our small reservations about our starters notwithstanding, overall we voted Emmanuel’s an ideal venue and top notch service for gourmet meals — a truly fine dining experience with exquisite ambience, in a convenient, accessible location.
Expect to spend US$45 – US$60 per head
Bronte Hotel, corner 4th St and Baines Ave