Situated in the heart of Somerset West, approximately 30 minutes outside of Cape Town, you’ll find Benguela on Main, a fine dining restaurant offering guests an all-round culinary experience.
The restaurant boasts classic French and English cuisine with a modern and innovative edge, masterfully created by executive chef Jean Delport. A sommelier adds to the ambiance by being on hand to oversee drinks services and recommend the perfect wine to accompany each meal course for those who opt for this.
For guests who want to whet the palette with a wine tasting, an upstairs tasting lounge, aptly called The Taster, provides the ideal space. On cold winter days or nights, a fireplace can be lit while groups enjoy wines from Hermanus-based Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate owned by Penny Streeter OBE, showcased in a range of events such as chocolate and wine, and cheese and wine pairings, to name a few. A wine cellar can also be found housing wines available for purchase.
The main dining area is an elegant yet relaxed setting with furniture and decor elements in shades of white and black accented by pops of shimmering gold on the walls, curtains and candelabras.
I was welcomed with a treat from the chef – a delicious smoked snoek pâté accompanied by lavash. A second savoury spoil was a cheese-and-onion bread and smoky tomato butter intended to evoke flavours of a South African ‘braai broodtjie’ – testament to Chef Delport’s South African influence on the menu.
I moved on to the pan-seared scallop ‘piccalilli’ starter, selected from the à la carte menu. (There’s also a chef’s tasting menu). My first try of scallop pleasantly exceeded my expectations. A delicately plated dish arrived at the table with a perfectly cooked scallop, served with a coriander and turnip sauce, as well as sweet endive and baby marrow pieces, creating a harmonious blend of flavours.
For my main, I had the pan-roasted hake, lobster bisque velouté and cauliflower. The fish was paired well with the cauliflower, treated three ways – creamed, foamed and grilled along with grilled shallots and potatoes.
For dessert, there were a few tempting delicacies, but with an unwavering love for chocolate, the ‘chocolate’ orange was the obvious choice for me. It delivered a delicious contrast of chocolate and orange flavours as well as various textural elements. Concealed inside the ‘orange’ made of a thin chocolate shell was a white espuma and yoghurt centre resting on a caramelised orange slice. On the side was a rich and decadent mousse. Chocolate rice crisps and edible flowers completed this true delight.
I ended the meal with a petit four glazed with a chocolate-and-salted-caramel sauce, compliments of the chef. A fitting end to a visually exquisite and taste-bud-tantalizing meal. If you are looking to spend an afternoon or evening enjoying exceptional food with friends, loved ones or a special someone, then Benguela on Main is the place.
The restaurant is currently running a winter lunch and dinner special until the end of August and has upcoming Heritage Day, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve events. For all dates and pricing, visit the website or Facebook page. Advocating responsible driving, Benguela on Main also offers its patrons from the Somerset West area a free drive-home service, which can be arranged when reservations are made.
When Tuesdays – Saturdays 12:30 noon – late (last reservation at 9:15 pm)
Where Corner Main Road and Coronation Avenue, Somerset West
Cost According to Menu
Contact +27 87 357 0637, [email protected], www.bengueladining.com