If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of eating at Cube Tasting Kitchen, do yourself a favour and start saving up. Forgo all those crappy fast-food “meals” and stop pretending you’re enjoying the Spur, just because there is somewhere for the kids to play. Make a booking a Cube and start getting excited.
Cube used to live in Parktown North, and who knows why they moved to Maboneng, but they occupy the ground floor of the recently-restored Cosmopolitan building. The building is beautiful and interesting. I love how it sits so comfortably like an old queen on her throne amongst the edgy, industrial and trendy modern buildings around it.
Last night was the second time I’ve eaten at Cube, so I did know what to expect. When you book, they send you the menu in advance with wine pairing suggestions. I love that they allow you to bring your own wine – this gives your pocket a little relief from restaurant wine prices (and allows someone like me the chance to have very good wine at bottle store prices). But on to the food:
First course was a summer salad with duck, spicy satay, fruit and tiny bits of peanut. Absolutely delicious. I don’t think I need to mention that each course is immaculately presented – a work of art in itself. We paired this with an award-winning champagne which my friend was presented as congratulations for her promotion (neither of us remember what wine it was!). I was happy to celebrate that (again) and the start of the school holidays at Cube. The biscuity flavour of the bubbly complemented the freshness of the salad, and the tasty duck.
Next up was a tribute to South African staple foods – polenta cakes, corn custard, deep fried ice-cream, puffed corn and popcorn salt (!) blackened corn and corn flowers. It was not Banting-friendly in any way or form, but was so interesting to eat. The different textures were intriguing.
Smoked mushroom followed – a combination of smoked Shimeji, shiitake and oyster mushrooms, truffle cream, roasted garlic, gruyere crumble and rosemary dust. How flavoursome it was. We paired it with a delicious Weltevrede 1912 Chardonnay. I didn’t really understand wine pairing until I noticed that the smokey flavours of the mushrooms offset a brilliant buttery beauty in the chardonnay.
Asparagus grapefruit salsa, saffron mayo, sour cream and chive ice-cream and soya foam accompanied the grapefruit cured salmon. Subtle, spectacular flavours! And how gorgeous does it look?!
Next was our favourite dish of the evening – the Lobster. What a delicious treat! It was saved with leek and celeriac puree, caper berries, passion fruit dressing, champagne jelly and poppy seed tuille. I’m grateful that the portion sizes are taste-sized: small enough for one to enjoy a ten course meal without completely overstuffing oneself. I could, however, have eaten two of the lobster course!
Before the meat courses, there were some culinary theatrics, with blood orange and gin shooters followed by nitro meringues to clear the palate. I do love a little dry ice. This was the first time I’ve eaten out of it! It was also lovely to have a hands-on experience in such a fancy restaurant.
When the pork belly arrived, our wine switched to a fragrant, subtle Dombeya Merlot, whose cherry flavours worked so well with the roasted pork belly, apple puree, roasted garlic emulsion and apple chips. It tasted as good as it looks.
Course number 8 (I think – I’ve lost track) was Malay ostrich fillet, lentil curry bites with mango mint preserve, cashews and carrots. So good! And so pretty too! I find it amazing how the tiniest details, which also add tremendous aesthetic value to a dish, add such interesting nuances into the flavours that hit your palate.
This, believe it or not, was the cheese course: cheese mousse, parmesan tuille, candied walnuts and stewed fruit with cheese zabaglione. Some of these words are just words to me – I couldn’t distinguish a zabaglione from a tuille, but I can tell you, it was also a fantastic dish.
The black and white dessert was Jackson Pollock on a plate! It must have been such fun putting the dish together. Sesame sponge, olive white chocolate brownie, white chocolate jelly, blackberry delight and black powder. I’m not sure what the mystery black powder was, but it helped create a sensational dessert.
Last course, course number 11 (if you count the palate cleanser) was a dish called Flower Power. They describe it as: Floral elements of rose, hibiscus, fuschia, and elderflower. (elderflower always makes me think of my hilarious Irish friend, who cannot fathom why and when elderflowers became trendy, and what the hell is an elderflower anyway! :D). Whatever elements they used, they presented a beautiful and delicious end to a truly spectacular meal. I am so grateful to have had the experience.
Two things I have failed to mention thus far cannot go unmentioned. Firstly, the service at Cube is fantastic. The minute my Uber stopped outside, the friendly doorman took my wine and guided me inside where I was greeted and shown to my table. Our waiter served so well, being thoroughly efficient without being intrusive at all. He noticed when glasses needed to be refilled and never had to be called. The chefs deliver each course and explain what the food is. It’s fantastic to see that Cube has a huge diversity in the kitchen (I think it would be a wonderful place for a young chef to do an internship). The doorman also saw me into my Uber at home time.
Lastly, I had the most wonderful company. My friend and I managed to talk and laugh through a 10 course meal, sometimes having to remind ourselves to taste the wine and the food, comparing notes and enjoying the experience together. She even sang a little ode to the Chardonnay. I am so grateful to have such beautiful, generous people in my life. I suggest you treat yourself, along with someone special in your life, to a Cube experience.