‘Azure’ at the 12 Apostles Hotel, not as usual…

When I received a last-minute invite to join the vegan Supper Club at Azure Restaurant at the 12 Apostles Hotel, I was very excited. I never thought I could get so excited over vegan food. However, having attended the event last month at the Mount Nelson Hotel, I was sure it would be an incredible culinary highlight. The amount of work that the team at the Mount Nelson had put into it was unbelievable. Here’s a link to my write-up. The Sommelier who was challenged to find vegan wines, the chefs who all passionately presented their dishes to us and the waiter who looked after us so well. So, 12 Apostles, here I come!

In Summer time I often visit the 12 Apostles Leopard bar and enjoy a beautiful sunset with friends, wine and canapés. It’s one of the most breathtaking views in Cape Town and you might be lucky to spot a whale. The hotel is part of ‘The Leading Hotels of the World’ and ‘Azure’ Restaurant is an award-winning establishment offering Cape Fusion cuisine, according to their own web site. I’ve enjoyed a fantastic dinner at ‘Azure’ a couple of years ago so my expectations for this evening were very high.

Those who know me a bit will know that I find it very hard to write negative blogposts. I rather keep quiet than writing something negative because I always assume that people do make an effort and try their best. Since I had committed to write a post I have to be honest about my experience.

The evening started with butter and fish pâté on display at the table. Luckily, Laura Cooke, the organizer of the event noticed this and notified the staff. Fish was taken away and margarine was quickly fetched from the kitchen. You see, I’m not a vegan at all so I happily tucked into the butter and the pâté, not even realizing what I was doing. I looked at the printed menu and it was dated ‘26th of May 2012’. I asked Laura what happened on this day because today was 15th of August 2012. It was an error.

Next the Chef, I don’t think it was the Executive Chef, came to the table. He didn’t introduce himself and wasn’t wearing a name badge so I wouldn’t know his name. He started explaining the starters saying that we were going to have Scallops. ?? Scallops?? I would DIE for a scallop, I absolutely LOVE them, but there might be guests at this table who actually die FROM a scallop!! He confused Scallops with Mushrooms. Ok, this can happen. The next thing he asked was quite awkward to me: ‘Is everybody really vegan or vegetarian at this table? If not you can order a dessert from the menu.’ Now why would we want to do that? The whole idea of the vegan supper club is to explore and experience the creativity of Cape Town’s top chefs with regards to marrying ingredients and creating beautiful dishes without any animal products. This question was weird to me unless he was unsure about his own creation.

Unfortunately there was no such thing as ‘creativity and marrying ingredients’ this evening at ‘Azure’. It seemed as if the Chef and staff had no idea what vegan is all about and they didn’t seem interested to explore either. It was really just so disappointing and below any standard of what I’ve ever experienced at the hotel. I think they should have just said ‘no’ to the request which is often better than trying to do something if you’re not willing to give it your 100% input. See below for the dishes we had:

Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche

Starter

Oven Roasted Oyster Mushroom, Saffron Sofrito, Cauliflower and Coconut Milk Puree, Lemon tomato and Ras El Hanout Praline

I agree, it sounds fancy but it was basically roast veggies and a big mushroom. The only thing that was a bit interesting was the Cauliflower and Coconut Puree but it could have been done a bit more tastefully.

Harvest of Baby Carrot, Asparagus, Smoked Potato and variation of red root

Basically a combination of stir fry and raw veggies if you wouldn’t know any better. I did enjoy the smoked potato taste (probably because it tastes a bit like bacon…but that’s just me..).

Winter Fruit selection with Raspberry Sorbet and Vanilla Lemongrass Gastrique

Mixed fruit salad with sorbet. The Vanilla Lemongrass Gastrique sounds interesting but I couldn’t really distinguish those flavors on my plate..

Postscriptum 20 august 2012: The 12 Apostles Hotel has apologized for not meeting the high standards of the Veggie Buntch Vegan Supper Club. All guests will be refunded R 160 per person. They charged R320 for the evening which included wine as well.

However, I suggest that you use that R 200 towards the NEXT vegan supperclub which will be held at the stunning Radisson Blu Hotel in Granger Bay. I’ve had a peek at the menu and it looks AMAZING! I’m 100% sure that the Radisson Blu Hotel will do a fantastic job knowing that both he GM and the Executive Chef are very much involved in organizing the evening

The vegan supper club is hosted by Laura Cooke, aka @veggiebuntch. The clubs are kept quite intimate with a maximum of 10 – 12 people.

The Veggie Buntch Supper Club is more than just the meal. It’s a powerful way to spread the message of vegetarianism and veganism and to make sure that restaurants are prepared to take meat-free meals seriously.

‘The reason I started the Veggie Buntch Supper Club was to give vegans and vegetarians the opportunity to sample some of the best food that restaurants can offer. Too often, as I am sure many of you know, vegetarian offerings on menus are bland and boring.’ – Laura Cooke

Contact: editor@veggie.buntch.net or go to www.veggie.buntch.net

If you like to visit Cape Town or anything else in South Africa, email me on jessy@extraordinary-travel.com for bookings into special places, superb routes, the best eateries and lots of adventure.

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