We stood in the reception area of new V&A Waterfront restaurant Mondiall hoping for a lunchtime table earlier today long enough for one of our party to inquire “Anybody home?” Whatever else the establishment purports to be, I’m sure they don’t seem themselves as “child-friendly” so credit for eventually accommodating three adults and our various offspring with something approaching good grace.
Mondiall is the new brasserie-style restaurant co-owned by Peter Tempelhoff, rightly famed for his nosh at The Greenhouse, the fine dining restaurant located at the Cellars-Hohenort hotel in Constantia, so expectations were high.
Before starters, a complimentary board consisting of extra-tasty mini-baguettes, a butter pat stamped with the Mondiall “M” and a dip. “What’s the dip?” I inquired of the waiter. “I dunno,” was the reply. It turned out it to be a wipe-the-bowl-clean hummus.
As an appetiser, the adults shared a plate of buffalo wings (R68), so good that they prompted a re-order. Whereas the first portion was “hot”, we ordered seconds of “extra hot” for one of the adults and “mild” for one of the children. Despite checking with our waiter as to which was which when they arrived at the table, these were confused – the result being that for a while the adult thought he second portion was under-seasoned and the child refused to eat hers…
I opted for the battered hake and chips (R95) – if a restaurant can make a simple dish like this memorable, then it’s well on its way to winning me over. The fish lacked firmness, the batter was crisp but tasteless and the chips soggy and equally devoid of flavour. When I asked a waiter for salt and pepper, he provided a desultory sprinkling of the latter from an over-sized grinder while the former was never forthcoming. The mushy peas on the side where alright, however.
Finally the de rigueur “Is everything alright with your meal?” question from our original waiter. Well, no, actually. He made a half-hearted apology but there would be no emolument of any sort. In the meantime, we watched a high-profile restaurant critic get swooned over. “Oysters for VIP table 204.”
Throughout this all, Kloof Street Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2013 by Mullineux Family Wines (R177 a bottle on the winelist vs. R79 from the cellar). Green and yellow apple through white peach, good fruit concentration and lovely crisp acidity, it proved extremely versatile with food. Boisterous children and a dining experience that was below par meant we quickly ordered a second.