I got the chance to review a lot of restaurants last year, many of them brilliant spots to grab a bite to eat but none of the them got me quite as excited as Dalliance. The new eatery at the V&A Waterfront is as fresh as they come and had me impressed from the moment I walked through the door. In fact, I loved my first visit so much that I have been dreaming about going back ever since. From the decor and food to the service, everything about this place is perfection and trust me, once you visit you will forever be begging your friends, family and partner to go there, even if it’s just for a drink at the sea-facing bar. Here’s why Dalliance takes the award for the best new Cape Town restaurant I visited in 2015.
There’s no doubt about it, Dalliance ticks all the boxes for me. The brainchild of popular restaurant group, The Kove Collection (known for the likes of Pepénero, The Bungalow, Paranga and Zenzero), there’s nothing they didn’t consider when opening this eatery. The décor is chic, simple and sophisticated – industrial meets library, with splashes of duck egg blue, copper and wood – making it the ideal place for a romantic date, dinner with mates and Friday night drinks and nibbles. But, don’t for a minute think it’s pretentious or snooty, no ma’am, the vibe is laid back with just the right amount of hustle and bustle thrown into the mix. A large part of the cooler-than-cool vibe comes from the open-plan kitchen design and floor staff who work together like clockwork. Not a beat is a missed as the chefs quickly and expertly prepare your food, placing it on the bar for the waiters to bring to your table.
And, speaking of the waiters, it must be said that the service here is impecable. I paid a visit during their opening week in December last year and everything was already running like a fine-tuned machine – in fact, things were running so smoothly that you would swear they had been open for years! I don’t often comment on the inner workings of eateries but being in restaurant where it was evident that the entire staff was working as a team, with no table going un-noticed was quite something. Seeing this in their first official week of operation was absolutely awesome and makes me excited to go back to Dalliance time and time again.
And now, for the food. I’m not exaggerating when I say that every morsel that came to our table on the night was nothing short of spectacular. Every bite left us wanting more and that is something quite rare in the restaurant world. The menu at Dalliance offers a unique drinks and tapas concept with enough choice to spoil even the fussiest eaters. Choose from a selection of vegetarian, meat, and seafood dishes to share, or enjoy them on your own (whatever floats your boat). Our waiter, who was super knowledgeable of the menu, recommended we start our meal off with 5 sharing plates, so we decided on a portion of Hummus and Pita bread (R40), Pepper Cubed Beef Fillet (R90), Spaghetti (garlic, olive oil & chilli – R40), Butter Chicken (curry and Naan – R55), Fillet (Bearnaise sauce and skinny fries – R90), and spicy and sticky chicken wings (R55). We later added a Dalliance Summer Salad (greens, nuts, avo and apple – R60) and Oysters (with a pear, ginger, coconut, soy and chilli vinegarette – R35 each).
Since everything was beyond delicious, it’s hard to choose favourites but special mention must go to the Butter Chicken which was so good it had me licking the sauce out of bowl it came in. The Pepper Cubed Fillet was another winner of note and is a must-try for meat lovers. For something fresh, try the Dalliance salad – the portion size is quite large and it’s a great way to refresh your palate in-between bites. We also left space for dessert and finished our feast off with a portion of Coconut Vanilla Rice Pudding with hot mini doughnuts (R50) and the Creme Caramel (with caramel ice cream – R60). The rice pudding was to die for and the bite-sized doughnuts were light and fluffy in the middle, making the perfect accompaniment.
As for the drinks, Dalliance offers a wide selection of gourmet cocktails, craft beers, wines and more for diners to enjoy with their meal. I loved that the craft beers and wines come in tasting sizes – so diners can sample before they commit to just one drink. The craft beer tasters come in 180ml and cost an average of R20 per taster while the wine tasters come in 100ml sizes and range from R25 – R60 depending on the wine. The entire wine menu is also available by the glass, something you don’t often find! You also can’t visit Dalliance without trying at least one of their many cocktails. I sampled the Dalliance Shandy (ice cold beer, peach liqueur & lemonade – R50) and the French Mojito (sparkling wine and fresh strawberries – R70) both of which were sensational! For something different try the Lava Lamp (fresh apple & strawberries, orange juice, honey and balsamic vinegar – R45) or the Red Berry Lassi (fresh strawberries, blueberries & raspberries with yoghurt & honey – R45)
You can find Dalliance near the San Marco entrance, close to Adidas, Pringle and Out of Africa at the V&A Waterfront. For more information on Dalliance visit their website or say Hi to Dalliance on Facebook.