Carne review

As a Capetonian, I have a responsibility to not demonstrate too much emotion in public. If I’m excited about something or impressed by something, I am expected to hide this from people. This is not difficult for me, it is a responsibility which I quite enjoy fulfilling. Occasionally I do slip up and my entrance into Carne was one such occasion. As I walked in, I look around and exclaimed “wow, this place looks really cool”. The host heard me, I’m so ashamed.

I’m trying to think of other restaurants that have really impressed me when I first saw them. Pigalle was one, it’s been around a while now but I remember being very impressed when I first walked in. Riboville, which is now closed, sadly, was another one. What I find interesting about Carne, is how they created such an impression with so little. The decor is certainly minimal and the walls are bare for the most part. As you walk in you are on the bar level but can see downstairs into the dining area at the same time, it’s almost too much to take in.

We had a beer (they have Jack Black on tap now) at the bar while we waited for the rest of the table to arrive. The biggest table they offer seats six people, which can be problematic and in fact was for me that night as I had to tell some people they couldn’t join us. The stated reason for the table size limit is that the kitchen is too small to serve bigger tables without compromising the quality, which is fair enough. Once we were all there, we headed down to the dining area. I noticed quite quickly that there was no music. It seemed strange at first but it certainly made it easier to hear what everyone at the table was saying.

The waiter brought the platter of meats to the table and explained what everything was. The 1.2kg T-bone looked quite intimidating  even considering it is meant to be shared. Carne’s speciality cut is the lombatella or hangar steak, which hangs near the kidneys, giving it a more gamey flavour. We decided to share three starters between us and opted for the popular lamb shank ravioli (R75), the Caprese Salad (R65) and the beef carpaccio (R65). The Ravioli was delicious and the beef carpaccio with wild rocket was amazing, way better than the carpaccio I had a La Boheme (but also twice the price). However those two starters overwhelmed the caprese salad, so I can barely remember it.

I didn’t get involved in the wine selection. I did get the impression that the list is quite pricey, with most reds fraternising in the over R150 range. The list must include some quality options as the bottles we ordered were most enjoyable. I was allowed to interrogate the waiter about their water and was pleased to note they serve local water.

For mains we had a selection of cuts. I wanted to compare Carne to HQ (obviously) so I had the sirloin (R110). It was an excellent sirloin, prepared to my specification. However, I do prefer the HQ sirloin and I think it has a lot to do with the Cafe de Paris butter. Carne’s meat comes with no sauce or basting, only a selection of mustards on the table. This is good, as you can more fully appreciate the quality of the meat. The steaks come with one side and I selected chips which were too thinly cut for my liking. Again, I prefer the chips at HQ. I tasted the rib eye steak (R105) which was very flavourful and I also tasted the hangar steak (R95) which I wasn’t very excited about.

I was told that Carne would be expensive, but it wasn’t unreasonable and it provides an experience that justifies the price. The restaurant is owned by Georgio Nava who also owns the award winning 95 Keerom across the road. Just as the seafood at 95 comes from Georgio’s own boat, the meat at Carne comes from Georgio’s farm.

Carne is an impressive place and you won’t regret going (unless you do something silly like try and ask for food to be brought over from 95 on Keerom). But now that I’ve been, I think it will be a while before I get around to going back.

Carne
70 Keerom St, CBD
Tel: 021 424 3460

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12 Responses

  1. reto says:

    sounds wonderful. can’t wait to try it. doh! I’m currently, and very unfortunately pescetarian.

  2. Liz says:

    Having been lucky enough to go a couple of times, I am convinced the best things on the menu are not from the meat platter, for the reasons you give. However, the other items on the menu are really quite fabulous!

  3. Nothing worse that a restaurant you’ve been dying to try out and when you finally do, you’re not too happy with. What a bummer.
    So You Want To Be a Banquet Manager? You think being a banquet manager is glamorous? You try dealing with cranky chefs and bitchy waiters all day – and that’s without the nasty customers. Visit my blog and see what it’s REALLY like in this crazy profession.

  4. Chris says:

    I am horrified to discover that Carne is dishonest on its website and menu in saying that all its meat is organically produced on Giorgio Nava’s Karoo farm. His beef comes from Gastro and Botes meat suppliers in Cape Town!

    He should apologise for this misleading claim and take it off his website and menu.

  5. David says:

    What a shocker, and what a message to send to people coming to SA for the World Cup, come to Cape Town and be ripped off by dishonest restaurateurs, they have also recently jacked the prices up quite a bit. This guy has always been notoriously arrogant but this really takes the biscuit

    Check out this report : http://www.whalecottage.com/blog/

    A more devious dishonesty is when a restaurant makes a claim on its menu and website that it serves only organic beef, lamb and game from the owner’s farm in the Karoo, and an insider whistleblower tells friends that the restaurant in fact uses meat delivered from the same meat suppliers used by other restaurants in Cape Town. The restaurant in question is Carne, well-known as a specialist meat/steak restaurant, which states on its website: “Dedicated entirely to meat as is evident from its Italian name, Carne SA is a carnivore’s paradise serving a unique offering of the finest cuts of Romagnola beef, Dorper lamb and game, all organically grown on Giorgio’s own Karoo farms. To test this allegation before confronting Carne, the December statement and an invoice from one of Carne’s largest meat suppliers – Gastro Foods – which supplied about R60 000 worth of meat, including Romagnola “beef T-bone”, “beef prime rib Carne” and “Beef Rump Swiss”, to Carne in December, were checked. Botes Meat Centre also supplied Carne with meat to the value of about R15 000 in the same month. We then wrote to Carne owner Giorgio Nava, asking him to comment on the allegation that not all his meat, as claimed on his website and his menu, comes from his farm and that not all of it is organic. This was his reply: “The traditional meat suppliers in cape town supply us from time to time with offal ( because we need fresh daily, impossible from the Karoo ) and two traditional suppliers store my carcase when ,my two cold rooms are full. One traditional supplier cuts my meat from time to time when I cannot handle the amount of work. We buy samples of meat from many suppliers to compare regularly with our grass fed meat. Hope my answer satisfies you. Regards, Giorgio Nava”! With a purchase of R 30 000 – R 60 000 per month of beef from Gastro Foods, and about R 15 000 – R 20 000 from Botes Meat Centre, it appears likely that most of the beef served at Carne is NOT from the Karoo, NOR is all of it organic!!! This is outright dishonesty, unacceptable for any restaurant, and especially for one on the Eat Out Top 20 list.

  6. john says:

    Maybe chris should stick to guest houses and stop attacking restaurants. Gastro supplies very good meat so I am sure Giorgio isn’t poisoning his customers. Get a life and stop harrassing restauranteurs for freebies. Maybe take up jogging..you need it.

  7. Dax says:

    This has been a very interesting revelation. Whether Carne is being true to its claim of using only organic, free range meat will I’m sure be revealed as Georgio has got his lawyers involved.

    Chris has updated her original post with these latest developments, you can read this by clicking on this link:

    http://www.whalecottage.com/blog/cape-town/carne-and-other-restaurant-cons/

    What this does highlight for me is that in a world where everyone is starting to claim some sort of green credential, there is a distinct lack of traceability and transparency. If a restaurant like Carne is being untruthful, we have no way of knowing because they are not audited by anybody.

    I think that every business will have to become green to stay competitive but the ones which differentiate themselves will be those that can back up their credentials.

    Lastly, please refrain from personal attacks on my website. I do not want this to be a forum for personal mud slinging. I’m referring here to the way that John ended his comment.

  8. Michael says:

    A very pertinent point Dax, this will be case of he said/she said, is there a proper organic certification process in SA ? In other parts of the world there is and it is a very long and drawn out process to obtain the organic stamp. Reading between the lines I would guess that some of the meat may come from the owners farm but I would hazard a guess if there was a proper audit done you might find not all of the meat comes from there, so it will be a Pyrrhic victory for either side, if any. This will go quiet as neither side will be able to prove their point definitively either way. As for John’s comments, they are pathetic and gratuitously offensive. If any of Carne’s meat comes from traditional suppliers then Chris has done Cape Town’s restaurant patrons a service in showing this practice up.

  9. peter says:

    This Chris woman is very anoying. I agree with john that she should stick to the guesthouse bussines. I agree that advertising something and giving the opposite is wrong, if you go onto trip advisor and click on whale cottage (which is owned by Chris) you notice people complain about the same thing at her guest houses. Misinforming people and not delivering on what was promised. How is it possible that this thick skinned woman can continuously throw stones while being guilty of much of the same acts that she blames others of commiting. Also Giorgio had to throw her out of his restaurant previously because she insisted on ordering off the 95 Keerom menu while sitting at Carne??????

  10. Nick says:

    Thought Carne was a geat Restaurant but I am afraid since I read of their false claims on princple I have not been again. In fact I cancelled a table for 6 a couple of weeks ago which had been booked a couple of months ago.
    I agree with you about this Chris women. A complete pain. On Whale Cottage Twitter page nothing but “comments” from guests- all good. Not the experience of two lots of UK visitors recently. Thought Camps Bay and Hermanus were crap especially the service. Their comments never appeared on Whale Cottage Twitter Page!

  11. daz says:

    Im sorry but if we use the rule that no-one can pass comment or critic another business unless their business is 100% is complete nonsense.(Peters review)

    As food and restuarant lovers we need people like Chris and Dax to review restaurants, it is always Chris,s personal opinion and you either accept it or you dont.

    If we had to rely on the useless restuarant guide books and eat out magazine for honest opinions were would we be today, if you read them you will notice that not one restaurant has a bad review.

    When it comes to Carne, if the owner feels that he is been unfairly criticised then its up to him to take action.

    And Dax i think you should be previewing comments so we dont see personal attacks such as the comment John made, its small minded to say the least.