Culinary Table, Lanseria
By Anna Trapido, 2 September 2020
Let’s call a spade a spade. Nothing short of meeting no one and doing nothing is entirely without risk. As the hospitality industry reopens, it is important to acknowledge that, even cautious eating out, can increase the chance of exposure to Covid-19.
And yet, cabin fever amongst patrons and bankruptcy amongst restaurateurs is spreading almost as fast as the novel coronavirus. The reality is that if we don’t go out and spend some money in our preferred eateries we will a) go stark, raving mad and b) emerge from our pandemic-induced hibernation to find many of our favourite food spots gone.
Which was recently my rationale for having lunch with a friend at Culinary Table in Lanseria. In the past few months, I have eaten plenty of restaurant takeaways but, I couldn’t really see the point in dining out amidst a booze ban so this was my first foray out into a sit-down space.
All the tables inside and on the veranda of this super-stylish, farm-to-fork venue are very generously spaced but, such is my paranoia, that I chose to eat at a table set out in the potager garden. It was a still day and the next patrons were probably ten meters away but, even then, I wore my child’s ridiculous Fantastic Mr Fox visor.
I began with a beautifully botanical balloon wine glass of gin-tonic and then moved onto a plate of perfectly oozy burrata set atop clove-pickled beetroot cubes and a tangle of roasted broccoli florets (R125). My friend ate a poke bowl of seared Mauritian yellowfin tuna with miso sweet potato, garlic macerated cucumber, bok choi and a soy, ponzu dressing (R188). She drank the best part of a bottle (okay, I helped a bit) of Opstal Carl Everson Reserve Chenin Blanc (R330). Both were dishes made for a share-share sociable scenario but we weren’t sure about the etiquette/ health protocol around picking into other people’s plates so we didn’t. Which was sad because mine was great and hers probably was too. My resolve and rationality fell apart at Pavlova (R60). I thought I was full so I ordered an espresso but no pudding. The coffee was predictably life affirming with a perfect crema but it was utterly upstaged by my friend’s crisp crusted, soft-centred, light, billowingly marshmallowesqeue (yes, I know that’s not a word but it should be) dessert with its perfect staccato bursts of layered tart fruit. Of course, I forgot about our no communal picking policy. My fork helped itself to at least half of her meringue before I noticed what it was doing.
I love my friend and I found all the not hugging, stilted greeting stuff very difficult but there we were together again and it was nice.
Culinary Table: 011 017 0999; Unit 1, Lanseria Centre, Corner Ashenti Rd and Pelindaba Rd, Lanseria; Culinarytable.co.za
- Dr Anna Trapido was trained as an anthropologist at King’s College Cambridge and a chef at the Prue Leith College of Food and Wine. She has twice won the World Gourmand Cookbook Award. She has made a birthday cake for Will Smith, a Christmas cake for Nelson Mandela and cranberry scones for Michelle Obama. She is in favour of Champagne socialism and once swallowed a digital watch by mistake.
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