Several people have recommended Toni’s to me and after several failed attempts, I managed to get there for dinner last night. I arrived earlier than the rest of my party and used the time to peruse the menu and chat to the waitress. As she was telling me how great the food is, I interrupted her to tell her my expectations were already high. She seemed confident and so I was looking forward to a nice meal.
It started on a good note. While I was waiting I ordered a beer and the prawn rissole starter (R18). The 2 rissoles were big and filled with a delicious prawn filling/sauce. I was immediately impressed by the fact that the plate had been warmed. Cold plates results in cold food which can ruin any dish. Looking around I noted the veranda which would offer very nice al fresco dining in summer.
My dining partners were 3 (beautiful) girls, so the chances of more than one course were slim. Especially after they ate 3 baskets of white baguette slices (why not just have a starter?). Anyway, I convinced them to share a starter of Portuguese sardines (R39 – 3 sardines). We all agreed that they were definitely the best sardines we had eaten in a long time. They were fresh and prepared well, served simply with some fried onion and red pepper.
Up to then, we were really enjoying the dinner, not suspecting that it was all downhill from there. The girls decided to order starters as mains. One ordered the prawn rissoles on my recommendation, which was fine. The chicken livers (R21) were average, slightly burnt on the outside and very little, if any, sauce. The calamari tubes starter (R29) was also quite average, not tough but not the most tender and lacked flavour. We drowned them in the peri peri sauce which they brought with the bread earlier on and that helped rescue the dish. The small Portuguese salad (R20) looked fine, I didn’t get any feedback on it. I ordered the feijoada (R69) which was tasty but the chicken was undercooked and it arrived after everyone else had finished their food. No matter how good a dish is, it really ruins it when you have to eat it with everyone just staring at you. We ordered a side portion of chips (R15) and a side portion of steamed veg (R22). The veg was terrible, it looked and tasted like frozen veg from the supermarket, certainly not worth the price or any price for that matter. Maybe the steamed veg at Kubo’s has set the bar too high.
The service started off fine, but really detracted from the experience later. Apparently Toni is on holiday, so maybe the service is better when he is there. There were not many occupied tables, maybe 6, nothing 2 waiters can’t handle but there were times when I couldn’t get any attention for ages while the waiters were chatting and doing I don’t know what in the other room.
I tried a bottle of the Portuguese wine (R100) which wasn’t great, but there wasn’t anything that looked appealing on the wine list, despite the prices being mostly over R120.
I didn’t try the peri peri chicken which is apparently their forte, and there were some other dishes I would like to have tried. I think I will go back when Toni is there and hopefully have a better experience. I can tell you one thing, I will definitely have the sardines to start.
88 Kloof Street
021 423 7617