I love beef. I really do. I could probably give up booze and smokes if I had to, but good old bloody red meat – NEVER!! No food is dearer to my heart than a thick cut, well-aged porterhouse or rib eye done medium rare. So a newspaper review of Carne SA, a specialty steakhouse at 70 Keerom Street (Cape Town) obviously caught my eye, and last night the crew from onelargeprawn and family decided to give it a try. The peeps at Carne were unaware that we were going to crit their place on the net, and we paid full price for our meal.
And this is what we thought:
Food, ah the most important part of this review. None of us had antipasti, but the options on the menu all looked very good and I regret not trying the beef carpaccio. Our waiter brought a huge platter of raw meat to the table to demonstrate the different cuts available – this might be off putting for some people, but if you can’t stand the sight of raw meat, you shouldn’t be eating it at all you big girl’s blouse! Basically, your choices are a fucking enormous T-bone (1.2kg), 300g sirloin, 250g hangar steak (which according to our host is meat from near the kidneys – a very tasty cut, and chewy but in a good way – needless to say none of us had it), and rib eye in either 300g off the bone or 600g on-the-bone versions.
The meat all looked good. When our steaks arrived, they were cooked to perfection having been marinated in only extra virgin olive oil, a little garlic, and salt. The tender, full-flavoured beef was an absolute joy to eat, and as I forked each sumptuous piece into my mouth, all distractions disappeared, I could no longer hear the conversation at the neighbouring table, the silly knives and forks no longer bothered me. Heaven.
Side dishes charged for separately, are all lovely except that we all found the fine cut fries over salted. Prawn1 marked them down for the fact that they did not have tomato sauce or ketchup of any kind to go with his fries. I know that at fancy restaurants it may not be polite to eat tom sauce with your food, but you are the customer and you’re paying for this food, the least they could do is give you a simple condiment. As for desserts, the Crème Caramel was rich although a little bland, but the vanilla ice cream was first class – both were overpriced. Coffees were too bitter for us. As a result of the delicious competitively priced meat, food gets 4/5.
Décor at Carne is amazing if you (like me) enjoy contemporary architecture and furnishings. The walls are finished in raw concrete, and there are beautiful timber panels on doors and walls, and several huge carved wooden bowls that look like they’re from up Africa someplace are displayed in the bar area. The Philippe Starck type Perspex chairs and sleek glassware are the perfect compliment to the lovely marble-topped tables. The china is plain and white – the best thing to present a steak on.
The silverware, and I use the term loosely, leaves much to be desired. It is light, poorly designed, and feels cheap – more suited to a toasted cheese sandwich in a greasy spoon than a beautiful hunk of prime beef.There were no steak knives, and I do appreciate the fact that my steak done medium rare was definitely tender enough not to need a sharp knife, but if you prefer you meat well done, or choose a tougher cut, you will struggle through it with the cutlery provided. Décor gets 4/5.
Our thoughts on service, ambiance, and general vibe are after the jump.
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