The Vault at Riboville review
I had the best steak of my life the other night. I can forsee that for a long time to come I am not going to be happy with the steaks I receive in restaurants. Oh well, it was worth it.
A while back, Riboville changed their downstairs section (in the old bank vault) to a separate experience which offers a 5 course set tasting menu. You can choose to have the food paired with wines (R400) or you can just have the tasting menu (R250). I went with some friends to try the tasting menu, paired with wines.
First course was Butternut and Beetroot Ravioli, but there was no pasta. The ravioli was actually made out of thin slices of beetroot and butternut and filled with 2 different cheeses, very light and tasty. Hiding underneath the ravioli, I found a cauliflower paste with a splash of olive oil, which was a delightful additional taste. This course was paired with a rosé.
Next we had duck with some kind of watermelon preserve (?). It was a very interesting, the watermelon complementing the richness and saltiness of the duck. This was served with a wooded chenin.
Then came the wonderful steak, as I mentioned earlier, the best steak I can remember eating. I don’t know if it was the quality of the meat or the chef’s culinary expertise but the result was superb. The steak was done rare, so the meat was pink/red with just the outside browned but there was no blood when you cut it. It was also incredibly tender, you could have cut it with a spoon and you barely needed to chew it before swallowing it. It was served simply with 2 spears of asparagus on top and bernaise sauce poured over. The sauce was subtle, allowing the taste of the meat to dominate. This was served with a merlot (I think, things were starting to get hazy at this point). One person in our party did not eat red meat, she was served an aubergine based dish which she was very pleased with.
The next course was a langoustine risotto. I love langoustines, I much prefer the flavour to crayfish or prawns. The risotto was very rich, filled with flavour. Each serving included a whole (shelled) lansgoustine which was a lovely treat. This was served with a wooded chardonnay. I remember that clearly because I’m not a fan of wooded whites. Much to the credit of the sommelier, when he saw my displeasure, he substituted a shiraz for the chardonnay.
I was feeling very full by this stage, it would have taken something very impressive for dessert to keep me interested. The dessert was so good, I ate mine and somebody elses! It was an amazing bread & butter pudding (although more like a tart) served with a nice ice cream, the flavour of which I can’t for the life of me remember. The bread & butter pudding/tart was so tasty. The texture was wonderful and creamy, rather than milky. and it had a crispy topping of some sort. A heavenly dessert. I can’t remember what wine we had with it. By this stage I had consumed far too much wine and was very in the moment.
The presentation of the food was very good, as well as the service. It was apparent that effort was being made to present the food correctly with respect to timing and etiquette. However the service was not so formal as to make one uncomfortable. When I ate at The Tasting Room (Quartier Francais) in Franschoek I was nervous the whole time that I was going to do or say the wrong thing because everything was so formal.
The wine choices were pretty good, nothing out of the ordinary really. The sommelier shared with us some information about the wine and why he had selected that particular wine. These little interludes helped us to remain focused on the food and wine rather than being constantly caught up in conversation.
All in all, I would say it was a great dining experience and good value for money considering the amount of food and wine involved, not to mention the very unique dining environment. My one piece of advice would be to take note of your wine consumption. Because you are not paying per bottle or even pouring it yourself, you end up consuming a lot more than you realise.
The Vault at Riboville
ABC Building, 130 Adderly Street
Tel: 021 426 0324