The Roundhouse is pretty new, almost too new for me to review. But they have been open for a month or so, long enough to iron out the glitches. There seems to be a buzz around town about The Roundhouse, a lot of people have either been or have heard about it. Which would explain why it was full the Wednesday night we went. The attention it has received is quite unlike some other restaurants which have come and gone without much fanfare. New restaurants could perhaps learn something here. The Roundhouse does have a lot of heritage, being the second oldest building in Camps Bay (c. 1786). It has been used for many purposes and was a restaurant before falling into disuse.
The owners have done an excellent job of renovating it (without disturbing the outer shell, because it is a national monument). The entrance is very inviting with some couches which look perfect for summer. Apparently they are working on the al fresco dining section and plan to have it ready for summer lunches (and breakfasts?). The view is stunning, looking over the whole of Camps Bay. The Roundhouse has several sections, including a private dining room. The decor is smart, contemporary and clean with allusions to both it’s extensive heritage and history. The dark wood floors and soft lighting create a warm ambiance.
The Roundhouse is a fine dining establishment. Like restaurants such as Ginja, 5 Flies and Myoga, the menu is priced per the number of courses rather than per individual item. The 2 course meal is priced at R160, 3 course at R220 and 4 at R300. These prices are similar to the other restaurants in Cape Town which price per course. The food is interesting, I had the Grilled Quail for my first course and the coriander and pepper encrusted fillet of tuna with scallop and tiger prawn risotto as my second course. My dining partner started with oysters, followed by the quail and then the duck. The duck came in 2 forms, crisp breast and ravioli of confit duck. We both agreed that while the food was interesting, it wasn’t mind blowing. I would give it 7 out of 10, which is not bad but at those prices you would expect at least an 8.
The wine list is very extensive, many pages with a large variety of good quality wines. The prices are quite high, I can’t remember seeing much under R150 with most of them being above R200. They also offer the menu paired with wines (R240 for 2 courses, R340 for 3 and R460 for 4). I find the pricing to be illogical. Whether paired or not, the price increase per course becomes larger the more courses you order. So, ordering 3 courses costs R60 more than 2, but 4 courses costs R80 more than 3. You are essentially being penalised rather than rewarded for spending more money.
The service is very good, they have obviously spent a lot of time training the staff. The wine is decanted into a stylish decanter, which is novel. I have to say though, that the quality of service is only skin deep. We offered constructive critism on one of our dishes and the waiter had no idea what we were trying to say so he just smiled politely and walked off. This problem is not unique to the Roundhouse, I find it to actually be quite a common occurence these days. It is a little annoying because you don’t really want to have to call the manager for something minor. Anyway, I don’t know what the solution is.
All in all, we really enjoyed our experience at the Roundhouse. The experience would be the main reason for going as I don’t think the food is worth the price. I do look forward to having lunch there one fine day in summer, the stunning view combined with (hopefully) more approachable prices should make for a winner.
The Roundhouse restaurant
Off Kloof Road (Lion’s Head)
Tel: 021 438 4347 / 072 277 2236